BETHEL — Twenty area middle school students wrote Memorial Day essays for a contest hosted by the Jackson-Silver American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 68.

First place went to Alexia Indermuehle, Grade 8; Second place was awarded to Owen Beaton, Grade 7 and  third place to Braden Scott, Grade 7. All three attend Telstar Middle School.

Donating cash prizes were: Crockett & Wright, P.C., Mike Stevens & Associates, Sugar Shack, and Western Maine Supply Company. Read their essays below.

First Place: “George A. Mundt: A WWI Hero” by Alexia Indermuehle

In WWI, an estimated 4.7 million soldiers served in America, over 130,000 Americans were killed, and many buried in foreign countries (Natale, 2023). One of these brave soldiers who served in the army during WWI, was George A. Mundt from Bethel, Maine, born in 1898, where he left to enlist in the army at age twenty-one. Mundt was an artilleryman, and he was designated to the Battery A of the 7th field artillery in the US army (Natale, 2023).

After learning that George Mundt was from my location, it makes this topic even more interesting, being able to learn about past heroes of our country, and town, which makes this my first reason for choosing Mundt. And even though these lesser-known soldiers are not famous, or well known, they are still important to history, and where we are today. Something to keep in mind, though, is that these people are not just soldiers.


They have loved ones and homes that they were not able to return to. Mundt was loved by many for his kindness, loyalty, and achievements on the battlefield. His friend in the army, Clarence Northrop, also agrees with this, in a letter written to Mundt’s mother. “For many months through times that were very hard to bear, his good nature and spirit made him loved by all his comrades and though it was God’s will that he should be taken away, not one day passes, that we do not miss him and swear to avenge his death.” (Natale, 2023).

Another reason I chose Mundt for my essay is because he was an inspirational figure in WWI. Even though he was not famous, or a well known person in history, he still stood tall, and fought loyally for his country in the war. He is an amazing example of patriotism, and loyalty to your home, family, as well as your country, which is why he should be someone to aspire to. Additionally, Peter Chandler, a [sic] historian, says in an interview- “I think the way to honor these men and women is to tell their stories. Nobody knows who George Mundt is today. But he gave the ultimate sacrifice for this country… What does it mean to be patriotic? How do we honor the ones who, as Lincoln said, ‘gave the last full measure of devotion to this country,” (Natale, 2023).  Chandler’s words provide a meaningful definition to the word known as patriotism, and show his loyalty to his country, which is truly inspirational.

In conclusion, George A. Mundt was a soldier in WWI, who served as an artilleryman in the United States Army. However, he later died in France in 1917. Unfortunately, like many other soldiers whose lives ended, his body was buried overseas in France, so his family never got to see him again (Natale, 2023). Though he is not well known, his loyalty to his country and contributions on the battlefield helped the United States through the war, and inspired patriarchy among citizens.

References Lincoln, Rose. “George Mundt Never Came Home.” Lewiston Sun Journal, 25 May 2023.

Second Place: Owen Beaton

I am writing about a man named Tyler J. Smith. He joined the army in December 2005. He died in the Iraq War on March 21, 2008. He died at the Baghdad base from wounds that were from indirect fire. An indirect Fire is usually a rocket or a mortar. He went to Leavitt Area High School which is in Turner, Maine for his sophomore, freshman and some of his junior year. After he transferred to Telstar High School where he finished his junior year and graduated. He was Brave, Smart and Courageous and why people should look up to him. These are my reasons why…


He is smart because he kind of had to be to join the military and know how to use wires and bomb’s and that sorta stuff because I definitely don’t. I say that because he was a Combat Engineer and was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division. A Combat Engineer is the person who cleans areas from explosives, puts up bridges, detects mines and other hazards in the path of the big tanks and trucks.

So you had to know what you were doing to be a Combat Engineer. He also was top in his class in the Industrial Arts class at Telstar, and helping his father with construction led him to being a Combat Engineer.

My next reason why you should look up to him is because he was brave. He was brave because you kind of had to be brave to join the Army in general. But also being a Combat Engineer and going out and looking for mines or bombs that’s brave. He also died when he was out looking for the bombs and got hit by probably a mortar or rocket. Which I have to say is pretty brave.

And finally my last reason on why he should be looked up to is because he is courageous. He is courageous because he joined the military and went looking for bombs which is pretty courageous to go ahead of everybody just to make sure nobody would get hurt when they moved from camp to camp. That is very courageous.

Also he had to be courageous because he had to take out and set up the bridge each time they needed to cross a body of water or a mud pit or something and the equipment must be heavy so the bridge has to be sturdy and therefore heavy and carrying that around all the time is courageous.

In conclusion, those are all of my reasons why Tyler J. Smith is very Courageous, brave and smart. The main topics were that he is courageous because he had to move the bridge for the big equipment. The next topic was that he is brave because he had to go out looking for bombs. Lastly he was smart because he got into the military knowing how to look for bombs and landmines.


Third Place: Braden Scott

Matthew Coutu was a young man who fought and died in the Iraq war. His unit was attacked by terrorists and he was severely wounded and died later of injuries. I believe he is an inspiration to me and future generations. I think that Matthew Coutu is a role model. He was brave and hardworking.

I think Matthew should be a role model to all children so that they know what many Americans risked their lives for because when he was in his military academy, all his teachers said he was a star student. He received the George C Marshall Award, which is given to the top cadet in the school.

When he served in the army his captain said, “Matt was an exceptional young man. He was one of those guys who was larger than life, and he just stuck out.” That kind of recognition is only given to those who deserve it.

I believe that Matthew Coutu was brave. Although this is true about all men and women who fought in all the various battles throughout history, I think that just like his captain said Matthew just stuck out. He risked his life to save countless lives in the Iraq war. Even though he died, he died a hero to all the people in our country. I think that all the people in America should know him.

I feel that Matthew Coutu was hardworking. Even before he was in the army he was brave enough to  train and join. A lot of people think that it is easy to just join the military but it actually takes years of work. After he was in the army, he kept working  to keep his and many other countries safe from the terrorists that ravaged them. Overall he worked hard his entire life to achieve all of his goals.

In conclusion Matthew inspires me to be a role model, and to work hard to achieve my personal goals. I think that this should inspire mine and future generations

All of the dead and living veterans contributed to the safety of this country. I think that people should take  time and learn about what they did, not just for our country but for the entire world in the ongoing goal of world peace.

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