Some veterans at the Cole Land Transportation Museum got to hear just how much young people appreciate them.The museum invites middle and high school students from across the state to speak with veterans. Then the youngsters write an essay entitled “What freedom means to me after interviewing a veteran.”The top three winners are chosen in the two categories: middle school and high school.They were invited to the museum on Wednesday for a special ceremony, to accept their awards and read their prize winning essays.The kids say they learned a lot. “When I came in, I really thought I knew what freedom was,” Said middle school student Nathaniel Lombardi, who took home 2nd place in his catagory. “I didn’t think I could learn anything more, but he really opened my eyes to learn the true meaning of freedom.” “We’re gonna be the ones that have to stand up and protect it in the future, and we need to be thankful for people who have already done it,” Added the winner in the high school catagory Hillary Hoyt.The award winners received certificates and savings bonds.Raymond Perkins is one of the veterans. He’ll be 90 soon, and says he’s spoken to hundreds of students. He says it’s important to pass on his stories, and he gets inspiration from them too.