On May 24 during the 8th grade awards assembly, the Sunbury VFW Post 8736 recognized our Patriot’s Pen essay contest winners. Commander Jerry Jodrey was joined by Madam President of the Women’s Auxilery, Darlene Tomblin, and Scholarship Committee Head, Carolyn Duncan. Together they awarded the top 4 essay authors of this year’s theme, “The America I Believe In.” The top 4 students were awarded scholarship money and memorable plaques.
The top 4 students were able to demonstrate their belief in the United States in such a way that made us, as language arts teachers, proud. They established a genuine tone to create and awaken patriotism within us. Several inspired us by reflecting on what it means to be an American, discussing the unique history of our country, and expressing gratitude towards those who had and continue to have the courage to defend our land. Others inspired us by using this platform as a call to arms. Their expression of national pride made us honored to submit their work to our local heroes. The VFW judging panel, in turn, has selected the authors of the four best essays to place a wreath at George Washington’s Tomb.
Those four students are (in order of 1st-4th): Lindsey Stevens (1st), Sophia Funston (2nd), Madison Laughery (3rd), and Abby Spangelberg (4th).
Lindsey’s essay is below:
“The America I Believe In”
By Lindsey Stevens
It was 1778, and the American soldiers trudged through the snow at Valley Forge. They were cold, tired, and hungry. Through it all, they did not quit. The America I believe in is courageous. Since the time of our founding fathers, American generals and soldiers have shown the utmost strength and steadfastness. From George Washington’s defeat of the British army, to the Union’s victory over the Confederacy, American soldiers have shown courage and valor. Still today, hundreds of military forces are in foreign lands, fighting for our freedom.
The America I believe in is fair. We don’t discount people because of their skin color, gender, or religion. We treat each other as equals, and we don’t try to take the easy way out. If anyone, be he a celebrity or a beggar, is caught breaking a particular law, the judge is to give each an unbiased, similar punishment. In the 1940s, my grandfather lived in Eastern Europe during a time when freedoms were being stripped away from his countrymen by aggressive invaders. He immigrated from Europe to America to escape their oppressive rule. America is the fair country which beckons the tired, poor, and helpless.
The America I believe in is free. Each American citizen has the right to live a “free” life. According to the Bill of Rights, all American citizens have the right to bear arms, the right to exercise religion, and the right to a fair trial. We have the freedom to choose our career. We have the ability to move about without hindrance. American girls and boys are able to go to school. We had an African-American President, and we had a woman running to be our next president. We as Americans have the incredible opportunity to do anything and be anything we want, all thanks to veterans who risked their lives to keep America courageous, fair, and free.
— Submitted by Mike McGann, ELA 8, Big Walnut Middle School.