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franklin county times

Burns, East win essay contest

By Staff
ESSAY WINNER – Lydia Burns, 12, of Collinsville, shows some of her many projects that she has done through 4-H. Lydia says that each person who has died and fought for America has made the country grow stronger. PHOTO BY PAULA MERRITT / THE MERIDIAN STAR
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
July 4, 2002
Two dozen entries were submitted in the "What Price Freedom?" essay contest sponsored by The Meridian Star and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra Association.
Two winning entries were selected by a panel of judges. Both will be read by the writers tonight during the Cellular South Fourth of July Pops Concert at Bonita Lakes, featuring the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. They are:
Lydia Burns
Lydia Burns, 12, of Collinsville, is the daughter of Pam and Hank Burns. She submitted her entry because she loves reading, writing and America.
A homeschooled student, she said she has read about many Americans who gave their lives for freedom.
She also has ties to several people who have served the United States in defending those freedoms. Her father is a U.S. Navy veteran and former instructor pilot at NAS Meridian who now works as a supervisory civil engineer at the base. And, both of Lydia's grandfathers, Cecil Allen of Collinsville and the late Arthur Burns, served in the military during World War II.
Lydia's mother said she was "amazed, flattered and proud" when she was advised by Buddy Bynum, editor of The Meridian Star, that her daughter's essay was chosen. She said Lydia and many other children are keeping up with current events, aware that today's news will become history.
Lydia's father, who instructs his daughter in her history lessons at home, said writing is Lydia's favorite thing to do and that she enjoys history because she likes to read.
Lydia is active in 4-H projects. She has written reports on wildlife conservation involving bald eagles and bard owls and has competed in Sew with Cotton competitions. She said she also loves to write poems and songs.
As she wrote her essay, she said she realized freedom has a constant price: "Throughout all the wars we've been in, from the Revolutionary War, where we actually became free, to even now."
Jeff East
Jeff East, 60, an Atlanta attorney, is a native of Meridian who is in town to celebrate the Fourth of July with family. He and his wife, Liz, have two grown children, a daughter, Jennifer East, of Dallas and a son, Mark East, of Jackson.
The son of Billie East and the late John F. East, he submitted his essay in honor of his father, who was in the Signal Corp. in Gen. George S. Patton's Third Army during World War II.
East said his father drove a jeep in the war that had his wife's name, "Billie," painted on the hood and the nicknames of his sons, Jeff, known as "Corky" and John, a.k.a. "Spud," painted on the fenders.
He said the Founding Fathers paid a high price for freedom by pledging their lives and property to the cause.
He said his own sense of patriotism developed under the inspiration of a seventh-grade teacher at Kate Griffin Junior High School, Miss Lillian McNeill.
A 1960 graduate of Meridian High School, East was a first-chair trumpet player in the Wildcat band.
Today, East plays trumpet in a volunteer orchestra at his church in Atlanta, but tonight he will fulfill one of his dreams by sharing the stage with the Meridian Symphony.

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