Young author Anniston Grantham is an 11-year-old Waycross Middle School student. Hearing stories of her great uncle Crawford Lee Grantham, who was killed in the WWII Normandy invasion, inspired her to write this short essay so appropriate on Veterans Day. Her father, Randy Grantham, says Anniston regrets never having had the chance to meet her uncle. Randy, a USMC veteran, and Belinda are Anniston’s parents and Annslee Kate Grantham is her younger sister. Randy’s father (Anniston’s grandfather) was Earl D. Grantham, who served in the U.S. Army, and Earl’s twin, Elmer Grantham, was a 25-year USAF career vet.

By ANNISTON GRANTHAM
Special To The J-H
The icy cold snow hit his cheeks like blades. His legs aching as he climbed the hill with hope to even make it to the top without freezing to death.
It was May 7, 1865. The hill covered in snow. Today was my birthday and my father was about to die. I lay under my covers and cried. It was freezing in the attic and I was scared out of my skin.
The Civil war was about to begin. The gunshots blew, the bombs shot people out of the next century, and my father was out there fighting for our country.
“Honey,” my mom said in what sounded like a whisper. I moved the covers and noticed my sister awake, but she was staring at something. With a smile. I hadn’t seen her smile like this in a long time. I look up and see … or I think I see … MY DAD! I run to him and my sister follows. When I hug him I notice he smells like smoke.
“Daddy why do you smell like that?” I ask.
“Like what?” He replies.
“Smoke,” I complained.
He looks at himself in a mirror and says, “I brought you a birthday present.”
“That’s changing the subject,” I interrupt.
When he pulls something out of his pocket the smell gets stronger. I can’t believe it. My eyes start to fill with salty tears when I recognize the hat. It … it’s my brother’s hat. All burnt and smoky. With all the stuff going on I didn’t notice him. Know he was dead, and I didn’t even say goodbye. ”Why?” I thought. Someone that served our country I forgot! My only brother.
“I have to do the right thing,” I say.
“What?” my parents say together.
I run up the stairs and straight out the door. When I get outside the hat in my hand turns cold. I put on the cap and continue running through what seems like a ghost town. The injured people scream for help and the ones already dead look dreadful. I look for my brother. My dead brother. I still can’t stop thinking about how I forgot a veteran. These people serve our country. They save our lives.
At last I see him. My brother. I start to sob when I grab his body and hold it tight. It feels cold, but I have to say bye. He served our country.
For you … and for me.