When I was in the 8th grade, I wrote an essay for a class titled “Why America’s Veterans Should be Honored.” It outlined the service of my grandfather who served in the Navy during World War II. He was captured by the Japanese and held captive for three and a half years. My teacher submitted my essay to the VFW Patriot’s Pen writing contest and mine was chosen out of 110,000 other applicants as the national winner. I was given a free trip to Washington D.C. to tour the area and present my essay to the national officers of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The reaction to his story was powerful. The four hundred words that I wrote touched a lot of people. They could relate to it. They understood. They wanted to learn more about it. It was an honor to get to pass on someone else’s story.
The impact of my grandfather's story inspired me to become a journalist. I believe in the power of storytelling.