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The contest is over.

Will to Exist “Why am I Here?” Essay Contest Winner

Will to Exist “Why am I Here?” Runner Up #1

Will to Exist “Why am I Here?” Runner Up #2

The Will to Exist is sponsoring an essay contest open to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines serving with Multi-National Force Iraq (anywhere in the country of Iraq). If you left MNF-I within the last year, or have orders to MNF-I, or are currently serving here, you’re eligible to enter the contest.

In 500-1000 words, explain why you are in Iraq.

Contest submissions should be e-mailed to The Will to Exist. We will accept submissions from December 16, 2005 until February 16, 2006. All submissions become the property of and Trevor Snyder.

Currently, a cash prize of $250 is being offered to the winner. The winning prize may increase as donations are received from readers of this blog. Additional prizes may also be awarded to runners-up as donations are received. Winner(s) will be selected by Trevor Snyder. The winning essay will be published on this blog and other blogs on March 1, 2006 and may be republished elsewhere. The winning author(s) will receive a byline.

The goal of this essay contest is to promote the American public’s awareness of the situation in Iraq and to help spread a better understanding of what it is like to be an American serviceperson serving in theater.

Please include appropriate contact info with your entry. At minimum, we need an e-mail address and mailing address that will remain active through March, 2006.

This contest has its genesis in the idea that this war will be won or lost based not on weapons or troop strength but based on public perception. Without the support of the American public, Iraq will not become free.

Want to help spread the word?

If you’re reading this and aren’t entering the contest but like the idea, and you blog too, how about helping to spread the word? Post a link to this page, or contact me and let me know you want to trade links. I’ll happily post a link to your blog in exchange for one that spreads the word about this contest.

Just pick an image below, cut and paste the code below that image into your blog or web site and that’s it. Thanks for you support!

alt=’Military Essay @ Will to Exist’ title=’Will to Exist Essay Contest’
border=’0′ />

January 31, 2006

Due to a generous reader contribution, the prize amount has been increased to $300.


The Gunn Nutt

He’s always got something interesting to say, and since his arrival in Iraq he’s expanded his blog to include a lot more pics, video, guest bloggers and even a discussion board. The latest edition (actually, a few weeks old – I know, I’m late) is an Essay Contest – Why am I here? [IMG ] The Will to Exist is sponsoring an essay contest open to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines serving with Multi-National Force Iraq (anywhere in the country of Iraq). If you left MNF-I within the last year, or have orders to MNF-I, or

Andrew's World

Essay Contest – Why Am I Here? The Will to Exist is sponsoring an essay contest open to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines serving with Multi-National Force Iraq (anywhere in the country of Iraq). If you left MNF-I within the last year, or have

Winds of Change.NET

Formal Affiliations [IMG Enter the Why am I Here? essay contest for a chance to win $250.] [IMG I Man the Command Post] [IMG milblogs] Prev | List | Random | Next | Join Powered by RingSurf!

The C-Square

The will to exist – a blog about life Essay Contest – Why Am I Here?

Sgt Hook - This We’ll Defend

There is an essay contest currently underway to answer just that question. Any Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, or Airmen who wish to articulate in a 500-1000 word essay why they feel they are in Iraq should submit an entry. There

principles Danish democracy is built upon that there is no reason to do so…As prime minister, I have no power whatsoever to limit the press — nor do I want such power.” And… a very worthy essay contest from a particularly literate soldier -[IMG ] [IMG Permanent link for A Few Promotions] Comments [ ]

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I will add a link on my blog. I can’t wait to read the winning essay.

Updates on my soldier

[...] Thanks Mudville Gazette Thank you Mudville Gazette for mentioning My Soldier Dan’s Blogsite, in the Iraq section of your site.Check out The Mudville Gazette, it is one of the most informative military sites on the web. you in Iraq? Do youwant to tell why you are there? I found this contest over at K’s.Visit this site and get more details, you may win $250 BIG ones. Link [...]


any way I can donate to the prize pot? I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for a way to do this.

Joe Katzman

OK, we’ve put this up. Once thing you should have said is paste this in but replace all ‘ with ” so it will work. I knew that, but some folks won’t.


Donating to the prize pot is simple. Click the make a donation button on the top left of the blog, and specify in “payment for” that you wish for the money to be used for the essay contest.

If you don’t like Paypal for some reason, e-mail me trevor at and we’ll work something out. All the prize money for this contest has been donated by my awesome readers!

Blog Contest Site - a social experiment (Best Wishes For New Year) » Why Am I Here Essay Contest ?

[...] Currently, a cash prize of $250 is being offered to the winner. The winning prize may increase as donations are received from readers of this blog. [...]

the will to exist - a blog about life » Essay contest update - prize is now $300

[...] home | about | albums | basement | contest | forum | subscribe [...]

the will to exist - a blog about life » Essay contest winner - Why Am I Here?

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Carole Weston

This essay contest was a great idea. Thanks.

[...] You might get some quotes or ideas out of this….this soldier in Iraq won an essay contest on "Why am I here" Hope it helps…Good Luck Wordsmith at War is the winner of my first ever essay contest, but there were several good entries. I’m posting the winning entry below and will post the runner-ups over the next two days, so check back: Why am I here? I’m in Iraq because I raised my hand and swore to defend my country against all enemies foreign and domestic. I’m here because I believe, odd as it may sound to those who have never served in the military or fought in a combat zone, that service to one’s country is an important part of being a citizen of that country. I ask you what nobler way to serve than to join the military and agree to go wherever they send you to defend against those who would harm your family and your neighbor? Some might say I should serve by doing community service or other volunteer work, addressing our country’s inherent problems from the bottom-up, at the local level first. But there is no shortage of volunteers at the soup lines and foster homes. There is, however, a shortage of Americans who are willing to depart the normalcy and comfort of their lives and fly around the globe to fight a brutal and religiously fanatic enemy. These are tough choices – the sofa or the cot, the restaurant or the chow hall, the company of your own family or that of your fellow soldiers. Ergot, I see soldiering, juxtaposed with the massive effects we can have on our country’s (and children’s) safety and future, as the right choice for me. I’m in Iraq because I believe the attack on September 11th, 2001, ushered in a new era for terrorism. I agreed that it was best to “go global” right then and establish lines of demarcation across our humble little planet, clearly exposing those who stand against terrorism and those who would harbor and aid terrorist groups. Most importantly, I’m in Iraq because of my children, and all the children of the world. It’s ironic that I would agree to leave my children for 18 months and fight in a land that has no more substance to their innocent little minds than a fairy tale. But one day they will read about what we’ve done in their history books, hopefully find themselves in a society relatively free of terrorism (there will always be some violence), and understand the importance of what we’re doing here. This fight is physically in Iraq and Afghanistan, but symbolically and historically it stands for much more. We’re fighting in the present, but for the future. We’re fighting in Iraq, but for our own country as well. We’re fighting adults, on behalf of children. Yes – as a human being I care about the Iraqi people and the future of this country free from a violent dictator. Yes – I volunteered to come because I think that all people deserve freedom such as we have in America, and as a citizen and soldier it was my turn to serve my country in combat. Yes – I felt it was the least I could do considering all those who have given their lives in past conflicts to assure the freedoms we all enjoy today. But I am also selfish. If our children live in a safer country because of what I’m doing in Iraq, and terrorists are afraid to attack us because they know the consequences first hand, and we dissect the nuclei of terrorist cells, making them run for cover and never feel safe, then that’s reason enough for me to be here. If I tell myself I’m making a safer future for the kids, I can sleep better at night, although I don’t sleep in my own bed, anywhere near my children, and am often awoken by the sound of mortars and rockets exploding with kinetic violence, as if out of spite for the earth itself, rather than the sweet chorus of my children’s voices calling for me in the night, afraid of the dark. I’m not a warmonger. I was not the kid you knew in high school who joined Junior ROTC and dreamed of becoming a soldier. I was not that guy. I prefer intellectual debate to violence every time. I believe in the power of pen over sword. When I completed my first Active Duty enlistment, I accepted my honorable discharge and had no intentions of re-enlisting. Alas, I re-enlisted after a four year break, and then decided to become an officer and a citizen-soldier. And a few years later when a Lieutenant Colonel from a sister unit asked me to come to Iraq as his Signal Officer, I agreed. I’m in Iraq because this is the war of my generation, and somebody has to volunteer to travel across the planet and defend America against people who will fly airplanes into buildings on an otherwise average sunny morning in downtown New York City. Through that act alone, terrorists declared war on the United States of America, and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to take some action. I’d rather be a soldier, an active participant against such a cruel enemy, than a critic who enjoys the flavors of American life but isn’t willing to put on a uniform and say, “America. I am your humble servant. Send me where you will.” I don’t mean all citizens need to fight. Everyone is not supposed to be a soldier. But if you aren’t willing to do so, then your criticism lacks substance. I’m in Iraq because regardless of my religious preference, or lack thereof, I know the universe will unfold exactly as it’s supposed to. The long string of moments and experiences that make up my life, and that impacted my decision to become a soldier, coalesced into this tiny fulcrum of time and space, colliding with perfect entropy and placing me in the midst of this war, in the Al Anbar Province of the western deserts of Iraq. And like every other great victory or tragedy in our sordid history, this too shall pass. Quite simply, I’m in Iraq because right now, I believe it’s where I’m supposed to be. [...]



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