Ashley DeLorge


Ashley DeLorge: What A Veteran Means To Me…What does a veteran mean to me? A veteran means freedom to me. A veteran means I have the freedom to walk down the sidewalk to meet a friend. To go anywhere I want to go. A veteran means we are protected from the bad guys around the world. A veteran means I don’t have to be scared when I play outside. When I think of a veteran I think of all they have done for the citizens of the United States of America. I think of all they have sacrificed for our freedom. I think of the difference each veteran must have made for each of us.

I think of the veterans at Irwin Army Hospital, where I was born, and how much they helped my mom when she was so sick having me. A veteran means bravery to me. A veteran has to sacrifice their lives to give us what we need. I think of the veterans that had to lie in the mud watching out for someone to come along. Veterans have to sleep in deep dug holes in the ground surrounded by cars to keep safe and to blend in so they aren’t seen so easily all while we are in comfortable warm beds. They don’t have McDonalds out in the field so they have to eat food in a bag. A veteran protects us and fights for us in dangerous situations for very little pay.

Last year at my school in Topeka, KS, Maude Bishop Elementary, my principal had a son serving in the war in Iraq. His name was Kyle Thomas and he made the ultimate sacrifice at the age of 21. My whole school grieved for Kyle and Mr. Thomas. He never had a chance to have a life and enjoy the freedoms that he fought so hard for.

When I think of a veteran, I think of my dad who served in the Army in Operation Desert Storm in 1991. I think of how hard he worked there. I think of how dangerous that must have been for him. I think of how much my mom must have worried and missed him.

When I think of a veteran, I think of my great grandfather who served in the Army for more than 20 years. I like to hear his stories about being stationed in Germany and meeting so many different people from around the world.

When I think of a veteran, I think of the great uncle I never got to meet. He made the ultimate sacrifice dying in Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Veterans mean everything to me and if it weren’t for them I wouldn’t be free today or as comfortable as I am now. I thank the Veterans for doing all these things. A veteran means being selfless. Thank you for saving the lives of many people… That’s what a Veteran means to me.

My daughter Ashley won first place in an essay contest in Dayton, Ohio, where she lives. This essay was on the front page of local newspaper there. I want to share this with everyone!!!

Robert DeLorge
(Proud Dad)
December 2004