Veterans Day Essay Contest

Veterans Day Essay Contest

Virginia War Memorial 2021 Veterans Day Essay Contest

Essay Contest Winners Maria Turner (left) and Joseph Moreno (right) at the 2021 Veterans Day Ceremony

The winners of the 2021 Veterans Day Essay Contest were:

Middle School: Joseph Moreno, 6th Grade

The Basilica School of St. Mary
Teacher: Melissa Manaker

Read Joseph’s winning essay here

High School: Maria Turner, 10th Grade

Patrick County High School
Teacher: Michele Arnder

Read Maria’s winning essay here

Runners up: 

Middle School: Samantha Bigelow, 7th Grade, Tomahawk Creek Middle School
Read Samantha’s Essay Here

High School: Leysha Colon, 12th Grade, Stafford Senior High School
Read Leysha’s Essay Here

Essay Prompt: 2021

The 2021 Essay Contest is now closed, and winning essays are above. The 2021 Essay Prompt is below. Please check back in Spring 2022 to see next year’s prompt!

The Virginia War Memorial is now accepting entries for the 2021 Veterans Day Essay Contest. The contest is open to all Middle and High School students in Virginia, and a winner will be selected from each age group (grades 6-8 and 9-12). Winners and their teachers will receive a prize, and winning students will be recognized during the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony on November 11, 2021. Winning students may also be asked to present their submissions at the Virginia War Memorial following the ceremony, and their essays will be printed in the Virginia War Memorial Foundation’s Newsletter. This year’s prompt and all rules and guidelines can be found below:

“None of us will ever forget this day. Yet, we go forward to defend freedom and all that is good and just in our world.” 

– President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001


Prompt: Write about an American who served in the United States military following the attacks of September 11, 2001 who inspires you. 

This year, we are reflecting on the 20 years that have passed since the surprise attacks of September 11, 2001. To honor those men and women who served in the months and years following 9/11, the Virginia War Memorial is calling on students to write about a service member who inspires them.

Subjects of your essay may be someone you know personally or not, and the subject may be living or deceased. When selecting the subject of your essay, consider your family, members of your community, or others whose stories resonate with you personally. He or she may be from any branch of the military, and have served at any time during the window of September 2001-today. Consider what lessons they have taught you, and what we could all learn from their example. Your essay should focus on their time in service, though you may also address their time as a civilian if relevant.

Develop your response through research, using interviews and/or primary sources if possible. Feel free to utilize newspaper records, first person accounts, military records, letters, or more to tell us about your subject and why they inspire you.

2021 Veterans Day Essay Contest FULL PROMPT

2021 Veterans Day Essay Contest RULES