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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • VFW?announces ‘Patriot’s Pen’ essay winners

  • VFW believes strongly in good citizenship and fostering patriotism.

    That's why they encourage youthful minds to examine our nation's history and their own experiences in modern society through the Patriot's Pen youth essay-writing contest.


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  • VFW believes strongly in good citizenship and fostering patriotism.
    That's why they encourage youthful minds to examine our nation's history and their own experiences in modern society through the Patriot's Pen youth essay-writing contest.
    Annually, roughly 112,000 students from grades 6-8 enter to win one of several savings bonds totaling $1.2 million, as well as an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC, for the national first place winner.
    Students draft a 300-400 word essay, expressing their views based upon an — always patriotic — annual theme chosen by the VFW Commander in Chief.
    This year, the first place entry was written by Brady Johnson, a sixth grade student at Central Middle School. His essay follows:
    Does Patriotism Still Matter?
    Patriotism still matters and it always will! Citizens having pride in their country and being willing to show that pride is essential to a country being strong and successful. Unfortunately that doesn't mean everyone loves and respects America like they should. Personally, I love this country because of the rights and freedoms it offers its citizens. Many people tend to take these privileges for granted. It is great that we have people who are willing to fight for our freedom. I believe we should love and support our country all of the time, not just when we need it most, like when we are at war.
    As Americans, we have many reasons to be patriotic. Our country was built on strong beliefs and values, such as the right to worship as you wish, the right to vote for our leaders, freedom of speech, and the right to trial by jury. American citizens can be educated, choose their career path, own property and pretty much do what they want with their lives. I think it is great that we can have our own opinion and that we do not get judged or in trouble for it.
    Americans show their patriotism by displaying flags, saying the Pledge of Allegiance, singing the National Anthem, voting and being law-abiding, involved citizens. These actions may seem like little things, but they make a big difference in the lives of everyone.
    My grandparents are important role models in my life and they have instilled in me a strong sense of patriotism. My uncle put it best when he said, "Mom (my grandma) was patriotic when patriotism wasn't cool." Patriotism is not a single act or phrase, it is something you live by each day. Several of my relatives have served in the military and I will not forget the sacrifices they have made to make my life as an American what it is. I can only hope that all Americans realize how fortunate we are to live in this great country and that they, too, have a strong sense of patriotism.
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