The award to her was $30,000 in addition to the weekend
all-expense paid trip for her and her parents. Madison also won
additional cash awards at VFW Illinois Department, VFW District 10
and local Mount Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777.
Former and now deceased long-time CBS journalist, Charles Kuralt,
won the very initial VFW Voice of Democracy competition in 1948.
Madison read her essay: “Why I’m Optimistic about Our Nation’s
Future”, receiving a long-deserved standing ovation. Her essay may
be read simply by typing into Google with this wording: “Madison
Haley VFW 2014 Winner”.
Winning essays were also read by Mount Pulaski Grade and High School
students, Emma Schoth, and Andrew Moody: “What Memorial Day Means to
Me”, which is annually sponsored by the Mount Pulaski SAL Squadron
Several Mount Pulaski High school students were recognized for
their selection to the annual American Legion Girls and Boys State
summer conventions. President Bill Clinton was once a Boy State
attendee in the State of Arkansas; and then was selected by his
peers to represent his state at the annual Washington D. C. American
Legion Boy’s State Nation Convention, where he met and shook hands
with then President John F. Kennedy.
The various Mount Pulaski military veterans, civic, and volunteer
organizations laid wreaths at the base of the Mount Pulaski
Veteran’s Memorial, high on the knoll at the south-east side of the
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Also in uniformed-attendance: Mount Pulaski Boys, Girls and
Cubs Scout organizations, Mount Pulaski Phoenix Fire Department,
Mount Pulaski EMS, Mount Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777,
Mount Pulaski American Legion Ryman-Fuiten Post 447 and Mount
Pulaski SAL Squadron 447.
The Mount Pulaski Grade and High School combined band provided
patriotic music and a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled
Reverend Mark Weber of Mount Pulaski First Christian Church gave
a well-received Invocation and Benediction.
Master of Ceremonies was former Mount Pulaski American Legion
Post 447 Commander, Bob McCue, who also gave commands to the
American Legion and VFW veteran’s and SAL Honor Guard, which fired a
Bugler Alan Roos trumpeted out taps. The service was
well-attended by an enthusiastic mixture of veterans and their
families and descendants, friends and classmates of veterans and of
those who made the supreme sacrifice, and by other very patriotic
locals — young and old.
[Text received; PHIL BERTONI]