Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Scholarship Essay

A few months ago, I mentioned that ALP was up to her eyeballs in scholarship applications.  While she was not awarded the one that went with this essay, it was the one she was the happiest with and I wanted to share it with you.  I think it gives a small glimpse into the heart of a military child.  Names have been abbreviated to protect identities, but you military friends out there will probably recognize a few!
The question was if you could make a modern day Mt Rushmore, what four faces would you use?  (my paraphrase)
Faces of Sacrifice
Four faces. How to choose? Could we ever construct a 21st century Mount Rushmore big enough to hold the countless every day heroes who serve and have served in our military - some visible, some invisible? No, but two men and two women from my life could represent thousands from others’ lives.
The first face on the monument is Colonel D.O.C. (U.S. Air Force, Retired), a family friend and mentor, representing those who serve or have served in the military. They might sit at a desk as he did for twenty-plus years, fly a plane, or command a ship. Most are not recognized for their service. No one lauds their accomplishments or sees their names in the news. Yet, they continue to do their jobs, faithfully serving their nation with pride.
Mrs. Arlana J., her husband recently back from a six-month deployment, is the second face and represents the military spouses left behind - those who know what it is to be alone. They know the cold nights and the empty days. They have been left with children to rear, lawns to be mowed, and driveways to be shoveled. They remain silent when they hear civilian friends complain over two day in-country business trips. Through it all the military spouse stands strong for the one deployed on behalf of their country. They hold on, fight back the tears, and know the separation only makes the reunion sweeter, be it here or in heaven.
The third face is my dear friend Kirsten L., the daughter of an Air Force Colonel, representing military children everywhere including me. We identify planes or ships saying proudly “My daddy flies that.”, or “My mommy is on one of those.” We are easily identified as military children when asked our current address or telephone number. “It might be…no, wait. That was two assignments ago.” We are the teens who stand silently when the National Anthemis played, hands over our hearts and tears in our eyes. We military “brats” adjust quickly, know the right way to pack lampshades, and feel the solemn pride of a ceremony.
The last face on the monument, Major Steven Plumhoff, represents the fallen soldiers. Mr. Steve was my father’s best friend, killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, leaving behind a wife and child. He represents the ones who, since the beginning of our nation’s history, have fought and have fallen, the ones who gave their lives so that we can live ours. They were men and women who showed great courage despite their fears. They are the ones who will always be remembered with pride and who are not just names on a cold, hard monument.
The monument gleams in the fading daylight. There are four distinct faces- faces that are tied together with a bond that spans time - the proud bond of sacrifice for their nation. Four faces you may not think you know. Yet I believe you do, for they represent countless others.


  1. Beautiful! I shared ALP's essay with a few friends.

  2. Very well written, ALP!! You are going to be an excellent college student :-)

  3. Thoughtfully and eloquently written!

  4. Thanks friends! She said it was hard to write all she wanted with a word limit! ;)

  5. Thank you for sharing Michele. This military family can relate so well. Brought tears to my eyes. Well done ALP!!!


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