The following was written by Lake Forest High School student Billy Gregg in 2011 for an essay contest (edits made). Gregg won first prize with this powerful and timeless piece upon which we can reflect on Veterans Day... and every day thereafter.
The idea that human beings are entitled to these basic rights has come a long way since it was first explored by John Locke and other enlightenment philosophers in the 17th and 18th centuries. No country, no society, has ever achieved as much as the United States of America in terms of fulfilling these ideals.
That being said, the United States would never have evolved into the bastion of freedom and justice that it is today without the sacrifices made by its protectors, living and dead.