Here is the essay that my 12-year old daughter, Liesel, wrote last year about her “Texas Hero”. It won First Place in her Middle School and so she was selected to read her essay over the intercom to the entire school. She told me afterward that “a whole bunch of teachers were in tears when they heard me read this. They hugged me and told me how much my essay touched them.”
I did not know she had written a “hero” essay , so I did not know she had entered it in a competition nor that it had won first place, nor that she had read it to her entire school that morning, the same day I came to eat lunch with her, in uniform, in the school cafeteria. I had lots of pats on the back and knowing looks of praise and congratulations from the faculty, and I was baffled.
Then Liesel explained what had happened and that she had won $50 cash for her essay and that she was glad she was having lunch with her favorite hero….her Dad, the Army Veteran.
Here is her essay:
“My Texas Hero”
"What is a Texas hero? Who is your Texas hero? What does a Texas hero mean to you? Well, my Texas hero is brave, strong and loving. My Texas hero is my Dad. The reason he is my hero is because he believes his values, God, family and Country.
"God is before anything for me and my dad. My Dad has taught me to believe in God’s teachings. Me and my family study every night on the scriptures. It talks about God’s teachings. My dad explains how we can use these teachings today. I know that God’s teachings are true because of my dad’s help in teaching me. This is one of the ways he is my Texas hero.
"Family comes next. When my dad has free time he spends it with the family. Even though he could be doing stuff like watching TV, going hunting or fishing. He spends time with us children or mom. My dad always has time for my mom as well. He takes her on dates or just a walk or other things too. One of my favorite things to do with my dad is riding horses. But most of all I love being with him no matter where we are. When I’m with my dad I feel safe and warm. I think a real hero should make you feel like that.
"After family comes Country. He loves his country. Right now he shows his love by serving in the Army. He doesn’t only serve his country for us, but for many other people. He teaches us that America is a free and special country. He also tells us about America being a great place to get a good education. With a good education you can achieve your dreams. My dad also talks about politics and being a good citizen. A real hero loves to serve and teach others. I think my dad is a good example of this.
"My dad is the best Texas hero any boy or girl would want to have. He is my hero. As I told you, my dad keeps me safe and warm. Well, he really does. My dad thinks he’s a small hero but I think he is the biggest hero ever!"
That was it, her story and my big ole' melted heart as my then-10-year old Liesel shared with her school classmates her feelings about having an Army Soldier VETERAN as a Dad.
I'm speechless... and grateful to be a Texas Veteran of 25 years of military service; and counting.