Home Info JCVA student wins Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest | Education

JCVA student wins Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest | Education

JCVA student wins Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest | Education

Sarah Katharine Oldham Hopkins recently won the seventh grade Daughters of the American Revolution essay contest. Her essay won several different levels of competition including the local, district, state and Southeastern Divisional DAR chapters.

“It was fun and I enjoyed receiving the award in Nashville at the State of Tennessee Library and Archives on Statehood Day, June 1,” Hopkins said. “Everyone was so nice, and I also got to meet the president general of the DAR.”

According to Hopkins, “The essay topic for this year was to explain what it was like to be a sibling of a brother who had died during World War I and what it meant to the family to experience the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier .”

When asked where she got her inspiration for her award-winning essay, she replied, “I used my imagination to tell a story with facts from different resources such as the Arlington National Cemetery Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Anniversary website, books from 1917 and 1918 , and many other old books and newspapers online. I imagined what was happening in America around a girl and her family in 1918.”

Hopkins is an eighth-grade student at the Johnson City Virtual Academy, where her favorite subjects are social studies and English. In her spare time she enjoys “reading, biking, ballet, hiking, baking, attending Virtual Academy Book Club and (sharing) fun facts about all kinds of interesting things.”

She lives in Johnson City with her family, three goldfish named Daphne, Harold and Peter, a cat who requested to remain nameless, and a dog who never got around to answering emails about having his name released to the public.

Following is Hopkins’ essay:

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

By Sarah Katharine Hopkins

November 5, 1921

Dear Addie,

Things had been rough with Jonathan getting drafted, but things are way harder now because he is never coming back. The worst thing is we have no idea how he died. It pains me that I will not see his smile during the holiday months. One thing I look forward to is the ceremony for what will be called “The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” We are going to travel to Washington, DC to see the dedication. The tomb means a lot to me because it is for the men who died to save our nation.

The nation decided to make a tomb for the unknown soldier because in France and Great Britain according to the daily paper, “France buried its Unknown Soldier at the base of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, while Great Britain buried its Unknown Warrior inside Westminster Abbey in London in 1920.” (Durham Aguilera, 15) Having this tomb in Arlington, Virginia, will be a great reminder of those who served in the war.

We will leave for Washington, DC the day before Armistice Day and stay at a hotel for two nights. I will write again, when we get to Washington.

Your Friend,


November 10, 1921

Sign up to Johnson City Press Today!

Top stories, delivered straight to your inbox.

Dear Addie,

We made it, a long train ride here, but we made it. Tomorrow is the dedication of the Tomb. Yesterday Mother had to find someone to take over for her at the Red Cross to help treat people with the flu. She spent hours contacting people. Father also had to get work completed.

Today in the paper I saw that in December of 1920, “New York Congressman and World War I veteran Hamilton Fish Jr. proposed legislation that provided for the interment of one unknown American soldier at a special tomb to be built in Arlington National Cemetery.” (Durham Aguilera, 15)

Little Robert is crying again. I need to go get him calmed down. He cries almost every day about not having Johnathan. I have been having to care for him a lot more because Mother is working at the Red Cross. She also is out protesting about suffrage and has to help in the factory because the men sent to war that are injured cannot do the jobs. It is almost like Robert is having to live a life without a mother because she is always working. I am doing my job as the government asked all children to do. The government said, “calling for all children to help with the war effort”. Even if the war is over, I will still do my job. (Ohio Memory Archives) Hope your family is doing fine. Write soon.

Your Friend,


November 11, 1921

Dear Addie,

Today was great. The Unknown Soldier that was chosen was placed on a horse-drawn caisson and carried in a procession through Washington, DC, and across the Potomac River. There were lots of people around me with their pocket cameras taking pictures of the caisson and horses. We were in the Memorial Amphitheater where we heard many speeches, including President Harding. We had “two full minutes of silence” like all people nationwide. (Durham Aguilera, 16)

The soldier was chosen by, “Edward F. Younger. Four caskets sat around him in France, and he placed a spray of white roses on the third to the left casket” that man is the unknown soldier.

(Durham Aguilera, 21) The unknown left France on the ship “USS Olympia.” “The casket was taken to LeHavre where the entire populace went in respectful tribute.” (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service) France decorated the soldier with the Legion of Honor metal before his body was brought here to America. (Defense Visual Information Distribution Service)

While they lowered the soldier into the tomb, I said a prayer to protect all the men who had served at war and who will serve, also to help the families who lost someone like my family did.

As they lowered the marble slab Mother started crying and Father comforted her. Like everyone else to come and who was there today we all “come to mourn at the Tomb and to pay respects to the Unknown Soldier and the military personnel he stands for.” (Durham Aguilera, 16)

One of the things that was most moving for me was that, “France placed soil from France in the tomb and Chief Plenicue, a crow chief, left his war bonnet and sticks as a tribute to the unknown soldier. President Harding presented the Medal of Honor, and the British President gave the Victoria Cross, and other allies presented their highest awards for valor as well.” It showed that people all over the world cared about this day and memorial. (Display Room Tour of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Exhibit at Arlington National Cemetery)

Tomorrow, we will go back to North Hempstead, New York. Today was a wonderful day. I realized how I was not alone having lost a family member. There were lots of families that I saw that had a father or brother missing due to war. I also made a few friends with other girls my age. I need to get to sleep. I cannot wait to see you when we get back to North Hempstead.

your friend,


Try the Johnson City Press app today. Download here from Google Play and the App Store.

Recommended Videos




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here