Veterans’ Holiday Sacrifices are Remembered

There was hardly a dry eye in the audience when Loma Verde Elementary fifth grade student Georgia Magallan-Tejeda first read her winning essay at the Marine Corps Birthday Cake Ceremony and Veterans Day event at the Veterans Home of Chula Vista.

Georgia won first place and a $40 Barnes and Noble gift card in the annual Ladies Auxiliary Military Order of the Purple Heart essay contest. Sponsors include the Chula Vista Marine Corps League Detachment 1207.

Georgia also won hearts and minds. As the nation prepared for holiday observances, Georgia called attention to the empty chair in her home. Her father is on deployment in the Navy.

“The sobs at night. The empty chair calling out my father’s name. Loneliness fills my house. He’s not home for the holidays. …I long for his humor and crazy jokes,” Georgia said, in reading her essay.

In addition to reading to the Veterans Home, Georgia also provide a repeat performance for the Chula Vista City Council. The City Council recognized Georgia at its November 18 regular meeting. Georgia’s essay addressed the theme of: “Why it’s important to thank our veterans.”

“Our veterans are heroes. I give thanks to our veterans for serving our country and for being there when we need them,” Georgia said. “We are not alone. Thanks to our veterans our country is filled with peace and justice.”

Georgia is a student in teacher Rachel Lebron’s class. Ms. Lebron also had a student capture third place, and another earn honorable mention in the essay contest.

About 9 percent of students in the District come from military connected families—a figure that is as high as 25 percent at some schools. Military deployed parents who are not home for the holidays are a heart-felt absence, but they are not forgotten. Students at schools throughout the District help send everything from care packages to letters and notes to armed services personnel who are deployed abroad.

The District and City collaborated on this year’s Veterans Parade. With festive marching bands and solemn military tributes, the “Honoring Our Heroes” Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony brought together veterans, community members and Veterans Elementary students in a multi-generational observance of the Veterans Day Holiday.

(Photos below are from November’s Veterans Parade co-hosted by the City of Chula Vista and Veterans Elementary School.)

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