Junior received first place in VFW writing contest

Junior received first place in VFW writing contest

Lily Xu is a gifted writer who also has a keen sense of who to use to support her works.

The junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School entered a writing contest this past fall that was sponsored by the Somerville Post 2141 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). 

The contest that was open to high school students in Bridgewater-Raritan and Somerville asked the writer to submit an essay supporting the subject and title “What Are The Greatest Attributes Of Our Democracy.”

She explained how she approached the theme.

“I focused on how America provides people equal opportunities,’’ Lily revealed. 

And she embellished her essay with legendary words from one of the country's greatest figures.

“I used a quote from Abraham Lincoln to support my writings,” she said.

She included in her essay President Lincoln’s final words in what is considered one of the greatest speeches in our nation’s history—the Gettysburg Address

That monumental speech by President Lincoln was capped by these closing words:

 '’That government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

President Lincoln delivered this world-famous oration on November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pa.

Lily’s essay touched the VFW judges who awarded her work as the winner of the contest that resulted in a prize check of $500 and a certificate of her placement.

Her winning essay eventually placed third among all submissions in the District VFW Post 2290 in Manville, which also collected the writings of students from Manville, Hillsborough and Montgomery.

“I like creative writing pieces because it is a nice outlet to my emotions,” Lily explained.

Lily received her check and winning certificate during a ceremony at Bridgewater-Raritan High School on Thursday, February 1. 

The Somerville Post 2141 Commander, Granville Holder, and the Somerville Post 2141 Quartermaster, Johnnie Long, were on hand to present Lily  with her awards in the ceremony that also was attended by Lily’s mother, Furong Li, and Dan Hemberger, the Bridgewater-Raritan High School Principal.

James Wisor, who is the Commander, District 15 (Somerset County),  issued this statement about the program that Lily participated in.


“The VFW is dedicated to ensuring that future generations develop the knowledge they will need to become good citizens and are able to appreciate the uniqueness and wonder of our Nation and our form of government.  Also we seek to encourage and recognize those educators who promote patriotism both inside and outside the classroom.  We believe that these programs advance these objectives and are always looking for ways to encourage more participation each year.”