Photo provided
Rex Burkman stands with his mother Kristin Burkman in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Photo provided Rex Burkman stands with his mother Kristin Burkman in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

SHERIDAN – Sometimes there is a story that needs to be told and this is one of those times.

This is the story of a young man with a Sheridan connection via his mother but he does not live here or attend the local school. His name is Rex Burkman and his mother is Kristin Burkman. Many Sheridan residents will remember Kristin because she grew up here and graduated from Sheridan. Her parents are Dorothy and Craig Bishop and lots of Sheridan residents know the Bishop’s very well as they are life-long Sheridanites. But this is a story about Rex, not his mother or his grandparents.

The story all begins when a couple of weeks ago Grandmother Dorothy, affectionately known as “Gram”, came to work here at the library one day with a copy of an essay Rex had written as part of a contest at his school to honor those who had given their lives in defense of their country.

After all, Veterans Day is coming up shortly. You know Veterans Day, right? It's the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. World War I. Armistice Day. Rex entered an essay contest about Veterans Day at his school, and he WON!! Actually, he was one of four who actually had their essays picked to receive the prize. The prize was an opportunity to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. And that is exactly what Rex and his three other classmates did just last week on a class trip to Washington, D.C.

This is only half of my story. The other half is Rex’s story told through his essay — as fine a piece of writing as I have had the honor to read in a long time. Please take a few moments to read Rex’s essay and realize that these words were crafted by a young man of 13 years. I just thought this was an incredible document written by someone of his age and maturity and I think you will agree.

I hope on Veterans Day that you will pause at 11 a.m. and remember those who gave their lives, in all wars, for the sake of this great nation. For the past several years I have been privileged to be a part of the Veterans Day ceremony at Hamilton Heights School Corporation. My granddaughter goes to school there and Grandpa gets invited to participate. They do a great job of honoring all us old Vets and I appreciate it very much. And I know Abigail is very, very proud of her Grandpa Martin, and her Grandpa Wilhoite, too, standing up there.

But Rex, by way of his essay, honors all of us also and I applaud and very much appreciate his special contribution on this 99th anniversary to the end of the War to End All Wars. And getting to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier . . . well, that is just frosting on the cake.

So to my friend Rex Burkman, age 13, who wrote this outstanding essay, my thanks for honoring all of us who served, and especially to the ones “Unknown But To God.” You have made your Mom and Dad, your brother, your grandparents, the rest of the family and all of us in this great country of ours very proud of you. Thank you for remembering.