Middle School, Second Place Winner – 2016 Essay Winner
Teacher Christina Villanueva

“We are going back into core values: honor, courage, and commitment.” ~ David Higgins.

Every day, thousands of men and women risk their lives to do their job: help people. They don’t do this just because someone made them, or they feel in debt; they do it by choice. They have three things everyone should strive to have: honor, courage, and commitment. These people are our firefighters, police, paramedics, and our military soldiers: Firefighters rush into blazing fires without a second thought, just hoping that they can save everyone trapped inside. Police officers arrest criminals to keep our streets safe. They know the risks, but that doesn’t stop them. Paramedics also know what they are getting into – all the blood and the thought that not everyone can be saved – yet, they continue to do what they do. Military men and women, especially, need more recognition. They have to travel such distances – away from their families – and they know that they may not come back from what happens over there – mentally and physically. What they have to see and do, well, that is not easy. What is easy though, is giving all these men and women a simple thanks for undoubtedly having honor, courage, and commitment.

However, anyone, anywhere, at any time, can display honor, courage, and commitment. For example…
Honor. To me, having honor is about being respectful, patient, and empathetic. If you are respectful to others, and always kind and helping out people, you demonstrate honor. But, I think patience has a lot to do with it as well. If you have patience and empathy towards someone, I believe that is honorable in its own right. “Honor is simply the morality of superior men.” ~ H. L. Mencken.

Courage is having the bravery to do something that someone else was too scared to do. Courage is speaking up for people who cannot speak for themselves and making sure everyone is treated fairly. Although courage is usually associated with big actions and speeches, I think that courage could be something small and simple as well. Something as simple as asking your crush to the dance, or talking to someone although you are shy. Everyday courage is used, even if you may not realize it. Such as coming to the defense of your friends from a bully at school or raising your hand in class when no one else will. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~ Winston Churchill.

“Commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.” ~ Unknown. What this means is that if you promised to do something, big or small, then you do it, no matter how you feel after. For example, if you promised your little brother or sister that you would get up early to take them to the park, then no matter how much you realize that you should have made it a later time, you still get up early to take them.

Because no matter what, you make sure that both you and your word are trustworthy and full of honor, courage, and commitment.

“I do not intend for ‘honor, courage, and commitment’ to be just words; I expect them to frame the way that we live and act.” ~Charles C. Krulak.

Semper Fidelis. “Always Faithful.”

Bio: 2016 Essay Contest Middle School – SECOND PLACE: Semper Fidelis by Rosa Diaz, a grade 8 student from Heber School in Heber, CA and submitted by teacher, Christina Villanueva.

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