Essay Contest

/Essay Contest
Essay Contest 2018-06-20T14:41:53+00:00

Talons Out Honor Flight Student Essay Contest




 Talons Out Honor Flight (TOHF) works closely with schools throughout southern Michigan to ensure that the heroic stories of our veterans are shared so that future generations will fully appreciate the sacrifices made on their behalf. We now want to take that mission to a higher level with this exciting student essay contest.




  1. Michigan middle and high school students (in the TOHF service area, see map below) are invited to collaborate with a teacher/parent/mentor to research a deceased WWII veteran or Korean War veteran from Michigan.
  1. Research will culminate in an essay and eulogy for the veteran.
  1. The winning students and teacher/parent/mentor will be invited, at no cost to them, to join TOHF on one of our fall Honor Flights to Washington DC, where the student will deliver their eulogy at Arlington National Cemetery.
  1. This year we will select one winner for each category: 6-8 grade and 9-12 grade. The Middle School winner will fly September 15, 2018. The High School winner will fly October 27, 2018.


 2018 Time Line

 March 15 – May 25:  Contest runs.

May 25:  All essays are due to TOHF by 5pm.  Project may be mailed to PO Box 280, Portage, MI  49024, with a postmark of May 25 with video on flash drive; or it can be emailed to, with a link to your video, by 5 p.m. on May 25.

June 15:  Winners announced.

Sept 8 or Oct 13:  The winning student and teacher/parent/mentor must attend TOHF guardian training. The date is determined by which flight they are assigned

Sept 15 or Oct 27: All day Honor Flight from Kalamazoo, MI to Washington, DC.  Arrive at airport at 5am, return at 8:30pm (approximate).



  1. Essays will focus on the military service and life story of a deceased WWII or Korean War Veteran from Michigan.
  1. Contest is open to any southern Michigan middle or high school student within the TOHF service area, see map below.
  1. Student and teacher/parent/mentor must be willing to do media interviews
  1. Essay should include:
  • At least 500 words but no more than 1500 words.
  • Background of the veteran before their service years
  • Account of veteran’s wartime duties, years and branch of service
  • What is the rest of their story? What did they do after the war?
  • At least one photo of the veteran
  • Bibliography of sources
  • A video of student reading the eulogy for their veteran (can be a private YouTube link or on a flash drive) The student should be seen in a portion of the video
  1. 5. Eulogy should be a condensed version of the student essay.
  • At least 300 words but no more than 1000 words or three written pages.
  • Should be easily read within 5 minutes with a clear and concise voice.

As a final note, a veteran does not need to be a POW or have been wounded to be the subject of your essay. While most of them do not consider themselves special, or that they were just “doing their duty”, every veteran story is unique and interesting and should be considered as a subject.

Questions should be directed to:, or leave a voicemail for Essay Contest at:  269-273-4545.  (Please note, this is a message service that is monitored daily by volunteers.  It may take 24 to 48 hours for someone to get back to you.)



Talons Out Honor Flight serves veterans in counties outlined in Pink: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Kalamazoo, *Kent, Lenawee, Monroe, St. Joseph, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne | Flying from: GRR (Grand Rapids International); AZO (Kalamazoo/Battle Creek Intl)

Official rules and procedures