Ben Watt shares this piece exclusively for Emerging, a partnership between The Courier and Damascus College to create a platform for young people to publish their work.
I have always been extremely proud of my grandfather.
You see, my grandfather was one of the people who willingly volunteered to risk his life to fight in the Vietnam War.
After learning about the war in Vietnam at school, I have a newfound respect for my grandfather. Even though he tells stories and answers all my questions about his time in the war, I will never know how horrific the things he had to endure were.
My grandfather is by far one of the bravest people I know - not just because he risked his life and left his family to fight in a war he wasn't sure he would come back from, but through the way he carries himself and how he always manages to make my day that little bit brighter.
My grandfather has had to deal with a whole load of horrific things throughout his life as a result of the time he spent in Vietnam. He has skin conditions from being exposed to deathly chemicals, he has post-traumatic stress and he is forced to endure nightmares of his time in the war.
It's a wonder he manages to get himself out of bed, but instead he enjoys life and can always put a smile on my face after I have had a hard day at school.
My grandfather has always been there for me and I could not imagine my life without him. He (along with my other amazing grandparents) has always been my biggest cheerleader and has always encouraged me to follow my dreams.
My grandfather has taught me numerous valuable life lessons, a few of which have led me to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that I should not change my personality for anyone.
He instils values in me that I'm sure are shaped by his experiences at war.
Remembering how people like my grandfather fought for our country is extremely important to me.
My grandfather has always told me how important it is that we remember the wars our ancestors fought in and the causes they gave their lives for, so we can better understand why we are where we are today.
Remembering the way these return servicemen fought for their countries is especially important on special days such as ANZAC day and Remembrance Day where we can recognise how vital it is future generations are taught about how their ancestors gave their lives so we could live our lives in freedom today.
I am eternally grateful that I have somebody in my life like my grandfather who has lived through these events and can pass on his knowledge and experiences to inform my thinking.
I firmly believe that if everyone was lucky enough to have a Poppy, the world would be a much better place.
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