Page 12 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • January 28, 2009 FLOW Area VFW announces Voice of Democracy winners by Frank J. McMahon Six Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School students recently received monetary awards from Dominic Stimola of the Franklin Lakes VFW Post 5702 for their written and audio essays in the annual Voice of Democracy Audio Essay Scholarship Program conducted by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The topic of the contest this year was, “How Today’s Youth Benefit from America’s Veterans.” As first place winners at their schools, juniors Zachary Cohen of Indian Hills and Karen Rothman of Ramapo each received $150. Second place winners, freshman Kimberley Charles of Indian Hills and junior Loren Gandler of Ramapo, received $100. Third place winners senior Hannah Sabbagh of Indian Hills and junior Kyle Roll of Ramapo won $75 each. Cohen and Sabbagh have also received VFW awards in this contest in past years. This is the third consecutive first place award for Cohen, and Sabbagh received a second place award last year and a third place award the year before. The Voice of Democracy is an annual contest designed to foster patriotism by giving high school students in grades nine through 12 the opportunity to voice their opinions about their personal obligations as Americans and their responsibilities to the country. Created in 1947, the program provides more than $3 million a year in scholarships. The first place winner, who competes with all the first place VFW department winners, receives a $30,000 scholarship that is paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school and each department’s first place winner receives an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The students wrote and then recorded a three to five minute essay on the annual theme and a faculty committee at both high schools judged their school’s entries in the Voice of Democracy contest on the basis of content, originality, and presentation. Cohen’s essay began with a reflection on the world war in 1941 when war-torn Europe laid in ruins as German panzers rolled like a tidal wave. He described how Americans stood up and cried ‘No more!’ and fought the oncoming Germans. He wondered what would have happened if America and its allies had lost World War I or World War II. According to Cohen it is no coincidence the Veterans of Foreign Wars was created only a few years after the end of the last World War and he stated, “In today’s world, our veterans are still necessary to preserve the life that is enjoyed by each of us.” Cohen recounted the military service of his grandfather and how he continues to pass on his values to Cohen, his siblings, his cousins, and the rest of his family. But he said that today, he and his friends are disconnected from the trials of war, while young men and women are coming face-to-face with landmines, truck bombs, and the hatred that endangers them all. “Their service and their sacrifice must always be remembered,” Cohen wrote, “even if their struggle is not happening within our realm of comprehension.” Rothman’s essay also started with a gripping description of what the world might be like if the Allies had not defeated the Nazis in World War II and children arriving at school would have to begin their mornings by singing “Hail to the Fuhrer” and Adolph Hitler’s grandson would be the divine ruler of not only Germany but America and the rest of the world, and, a world where anyone who refuses to sing is beaten and taken away. “It would have been a horrific nightmare for the entire world if America hadn’t mobilized its soldiers to join the fight against Hitler and defeat him over 60 years ago,” Rothman wrote. “Today’s generation of American teenagers would still be living under the iron grip of a Nazi dictatorship.” “For me and other groups of non-Aryans, the horror would have been obvious,” Rothman stated. “But even for those not persecuted, imagine being unable to enjoy the freedoms that America’s founders created for our country: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, due process of law, equal opportunity, justice for all, and democracy.” Rothman emphasized that if America had not succeeded in World War II, the youth of today would be living in an unrecognizable America filled with terror, fear, and inequality. She recognized that those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces did so with great sacrifice and heroism. “They have not only protected the American people, they have protected the idea of America itself,” she wrote. “What my generation must realize is that without our veterans, we simply would not be free citizens, and our lives today would be completely different. Unfortunately, we take for granted the freedoms that our nation’s founders created and our veterans have protected over all these years.” Stay on top of commercial building maintenance Business Card Exchange I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours! OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! The Franklin Lakes Chamber of Commerce cordially invites you to make your business known. Join us for Wine and Hors d’’oeuvres Wednesday, February 18th, 2009 ~ 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Endless Vine 823 Franklin Lakes Road • Franklin Lakes, NJ $20.00 members • $25.00 non-members Prepaid registration is required by February 13. 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