Editor’s Note: Los Banos students were awarded the top three places in this year’s Veterans of Foreign War District 9 Patriots Pen essay contest. This year’s theme was “My Pledge to Our Veterans.” This week the Westside Express is proud to present the essay awarded second place in District 9 (which extends from Los Banos to Bakersfield).


A pledge is more than a promise. It’s a symbol of complete seriousness and admiration for when you hold someone with the utmost respect. It is something that is incredibly valuable and meaningful to people, that should be given to the absolute best and most hard-working citizens in this country.

Our veterans commit their lives to protecting our country’s people and freedom. That is why I pledge to our veterans, whose sacrifice has given us the opportunity to live peacefully and freely with little worry.

I pledge to always respect veterans and the country they fought to protect. Thousands of veterans sacrificed themselves to protect our country and keep it intact with its freedom. The country they protected should not be disrespected, because it will also be disrespectful towards them.

I pledge to never disrespect any of our veterans, and to try and stop others from disrespecting them. Without them, we and our rights wouldn’t be secure, so they deserve all the respect we can give them.

As a symbol of showing my respect, I and my classmates can write letters to veterans. I have pledged my own respect for veterans, and my classmates follow this same ideal.

We can all write letters to veterans, thanking them and showing that we deeply admire them. It is not only important to not disrespect them, but to respect them and show it in meaningful acts like these. This paper itself is written to show that we care for our veterans, and to express our gratitude.

I lastly pledge myself to the community veterans have helped to protect. I will not disgrace the sacrifice of our veterans by refusing to help build what they created. In helping to develop and make our community a better place, we are showing our gratitude to our veterans.

Bettering our community can come in many forms, some simpler and some grander, but overall I will help our community in every way possible, at any chance possible. It is so important to keep our people happy because it is the least we can do for our veterans.

This is my pledge, my promise, to the veterans who have struggled through so much, even now. They deserve utmost respect from everyone. They deserve the community they built to show their gratitude. Gratitude that shows the admiration people hold for them. I will always be grateful for our veterans.

Mariana Garcia Chavez is a student in Mrs. Dixon’s eighth grade Advanced English class at Los Banos Junior High School.l

The Westside Express