Despite the lack of a Veterans Day event in Fontana this year, young writers and artists in Fontana still made sure to praise the veterans who have served the United States.

Michael Quinones of the City of Fontana Special Events Department recently announced the winners of the city's annual contest associated with Veterans Day.

"Due to COVID-19, we were not able to have our annual Veterans Day Celebration. We did, however, make an effort to get the kids involved by holding the Dr. Charles Koehler Writing and Art Contest," Quinones said.

Three winners were named in the essay writing competition: 1) Alec Hernandez of Etiwanda High School; 2) Emmanuel Okeke of M.Y.A.C.; and 3) Melanie Alvarenga of Poplar Elementary School.

Plus, two winners were selected in the art contest: 1) Aria Shah of Poplar Elementary; and 2) Mila Garcia of St. Margaret Mary.

Here are the winning essays:

----- By ALEC HERNANDEZ

The flag that stands on all of our lawns this Veterans Day waves proudly for the country that notions its people to promote human decency, bravery, and most of all, freedom.

The question of “What does Veterans Day mean to me?” has crossed my mind every year as the holiday passes.

As a cancer survivor, I have faced plenty of hardships, as well as compliments of bravery at such a young age.

But, nothing I do can compare to the veterans who are responsible for sacrificing to keep our country safe and away from danger, allowing this cancer survivor to live out his life with freedom and opportunity to be my own individual self.

My grandfather, Ignacio Hernandez, and uncle, Frank Vidaure, are veterans who are proud of what they did in their service and out; with loving children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to spread their love for this great country and the opportunities of patriotism and change to better the future for all Americans.

When you see a veteran, you are seeing someone who has sacrificed for your right to live in a country where freedom is given. Veterans have allowed us to be who we want to be and dream how we want to dream.

It’s up to us as Americans, born of courage and drive, to keep on fighting to carry the spirit of America alive, that same spirit that veterans fought so hard to protect and keep alive and with us at all times.

----- By EMMANUEL OKEKE

Veterans Day to me means a holiday on 11th day of the 11th month, in which we celebrate and recognize all of those courageous men and women who have served in the military, whether in war or in peace, past or present, but it is not only that.

Veterans Day is also a day which gives every American a special opportunity to say thank you and show gratitude towards every individual that has served our country.

To me, veterans are heroes of the county and the world; to me, a veteran holds one of the highest honors and greatest positions in America; and to me, Veterans Day is so much more important, as well as impactful, than any of our other holidays.

Veterans Day has become one of my favorite holidays, because unlike Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, Veterans Day is a day where I get to know and physically honor the real heroes in my life, who have given me my freedom, my liberty and my happiness.

Veterans have given up so many sacrifices for our country and they have abandoned some of their freedoms and families, in order to fight and protect us, so we need to thank them for that and honor them, which is why this Veterans Day will always hold such a special place in my heart.

----- By MELANIE ALVARENGA

Hello there! I am going to say what Veterans Day means to me.

Veterans Day is a day to celebrate people who have fought for the United States of America. There are five military branches: Navy, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and the Marines. Each military branch has a special job to do. To get in the military, you must go to military school to train. Without further ado, let us start!

I like Veterans Day because my parents and I get a day off from school and work. My dad and mom almost never have a day off, but let's not forget why we get this day off.

Veterans have given the ultimate price and had to leave their families and friends to ensure our freedoms and liberties. In this time, they have probably missed a lot in their family's life. It is very unfair that they are risking their lives and they cannot see their family and for this I'm thankful. Because of their service I can enjoy this day as well as the rest of the year with my family and friends.

The major highlight about Veterans Day is that veterans get the recognition they deserve. They have fought for America and have kept our country safe. So, I think it is much deserved. Veterans Day is very important to recognize and celebrate.

Another reason why Veterans Day is important is because those veterans get a day to celebrate their accomplishments and service. These reasons explain why Veterans Day is important.

As you can see, Veterans Day is a very important holiday. Thank you for your service! Have a nice day and goodbye!

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