Cathedral sixth-grader excels in VFW essay contest

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2019


NATCHEZ — When Cathedral’s sixth-graders wrote an essay about what the American flag meant to them, Charlotte Book pictured her flag carefully folded and draped over a wooden casket, she said.

For some people, the image would have brought tears, but Book said it was peaceful to watch and an honor to the person who fought for the nation that it represents.

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Book, the 12-year-old daughter of Kelly Graning and David Book, recently excelled in the Veterans of Foreign Wars essay contest. She earned first place in the local and district competition and third place in the state.

When asked “What does the American flag mean to you?” Book wrote part of her essay about her late great-grandfather, Alan “Al” Graning Jr., who was also a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, she said.

“He has been talked about a lot in my family,” Book said. “In my grandmother’s house, we have this clear box — like a picture frame — with medals and pictures and clothing in it.”

Book said she has always enjoyed writing and keeps a journal of stories about her grandfather and things that have happened to her.

“I’m not a great reader, but I really like writing,” she said. “It helps me learn more than just sitting in class and listening. With writing, you can research and find new things.”

In addition to writing, Book said she has a closet full of art supplies at home and loves to draw. Book also plays tennis, is a ballet dancer and loves to swim, she said.

When she grows up, Book said she hopes to become a nurse like her mother and work in an emergency room.