Why is the Veteran Important? By Taylor MacFaden

Taylor MacFaden–Winner of the local Voice of Democracy speech contest


Anna Kelly

SHS junior Taylor MacFaden presented her Voice of Democracy speech to a panel of 6 judges

Taylor MacFaden, Contributing Writer

My great-grandfather enlisted to the military at age 24 to fight in the Korean War. With a wife and a 3-year-old son at home, he was going to a foreign country not knowing if he was going to make it back. He had no time to worry. He lost his life in battle, but because of his sense of duty and unselfishness, we are safe.

I would like to take a moment to thank all veterans, past and present, for raising their hand, taking an oath, and, despite the risks and sacrifice involved, stepped up. Freedom is NOT free! It may appear so, but that is only because of those serving now and in the past who protect that privilege. It is easy to take for granted to say what we would like, to wear what we want, and to go where we please; however, these rights did not come without the risks and sacrifices to secure them.

November is a month in which we have an opportunity to express our gratitude. Namely, Thanksgiving, Election Day, and most importantly, Veterans Day. On this day, we honor the men and women who have in the past, and are currently, serving to secure freedom and liberty.

On the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we enjoy the day off from work, school, and most of our activities. But how many of us appreciate that day for its true meaning? We are the land of the free because we are also the land of the brave. Veterans are the superheroes of our country. Without their powers, who would defend our way of life as we know it? John F. Kennedy once said, “The only way to maintain peace is to be prepared in the final extreme to fight for our country.”

In 2020, Scituate was distinguished as a Purple Heart Community. The Purple Heart is awarded to those who are wounded or killed in battle. Those of the millions who are serving or have served in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Space Corp, Marines, National Guard, and Coast Guard– we will not forget what you have done. The duty–for your family, community, and country–will be remembered and honored for decades to come. My great-grandfather, and many others, put their own priorities aside, left all they knew behind, and had the courage to fight for every American. Veterans have proven their compassion, loyalty, and strength on the battle field and at home. They are truly the definition of a warrior.

It is necessary that we honor their sacrifices. Because of them, we enjoy today as a gift. We are extremely grateful. To quote Eleanor Roosevelt, “Freedom comes with Responsibility,” and across the country, veterans have met that responsibility.

The veteran is a role model, and the veteran carries characteristics of a true champion. To all of our heroes, and sheroes, I with heartfelt gratitude, thank you.