Basha High School Student and 2022 Essay Competition Winner Ryann Terrell rides aboard the Hall of Flame Fire Truck in the 2022 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade.

The HAV essay competition theme is Never Forget, Forever Honor.

Honoring America’s Veterans (HAV), the nonprofit organization that organizes the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade is now accepting High School essays for this year’s competition. There are some great cash prizes on the line for both the students who submit the top entries for each grade level and their teachers.

The essay competition and the Phoenix Veterans Day Parade theme is: “Never Forget, Forever Honor.”

The service of America’s veterans can never be forgotten, but their stories only live on when future generations carry them forward,” said HAV President Brian Ishmael.  “Honoring America’s Veterans’ annual high school essay competition encourages the next generation to learn more about our veterans’ sacrifices and honor that service with respect and dignity.”

Past competition winners say the experience fostered in them a greater appreciation for the veterans in their lives who have served and sacrificed.

“There are few people who represent liberty, honor, and sacrifice,” said Ryan Terrell, a winner in the 2022 essay competition from Basha High School. “Together, these qualities make up some of the most selfless people in this world. We thank those who have been protecting everything our country is and everything we have as Americans. But we can never truly understand what these men and women have done for our country until we understand what liberty, honor, and sacrifice mean to them. When we thank our veterans, we don’t thank them for their service. We thank them for being brave enough to display these qualities even when it seems almost impossible,” she added.

Competition winners for each grade level will receive a $250 cash prize, the opportunity to ride in the 2023 Phoenix Veterans Day Parade, publication of their essay in the parade program and on the Honoring America’s Veterans website, and Veterans Day commemorative items. Each winning teacher will receive a $150 prize for their classroom.

This year’s essay competition requirements are as follows:

  • Students must be in grades 9-12 in Arizona. Homeschooled students at high school age are also eligible.
  • Entries must be 350-400 words long.
  • Entries must be submitted online on the Honoring America’s Veterans website. The entry form must be entirely filled out to be eligible.
  • Entries must be submitted by Tuesday, September 20, 2023.

Entries will be judged for their focus on the quality of the story and its impact, writing and grammar, and adherence to the theme. To submit an essay, students can go online to

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