Editor’s note: A second story covering the VFW awards will follow in an upcoming edition.
BEAVERCREEK — Beavercreek students shared their gratefulness for America Jan. 14 with their local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post.
During the Community Awards Ceremony hosted by VFW Beavercreek Memorial Post 8312, six students read aloud their essays entered into the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy contests, answering “What makes America great?” More than 140 local contestants entered.
The Patriot’s Pen youth essay-writing contest allows sixth, seventh and eighth grade students to express their opinion with a patriotic theme each year while working on their writing skills.
Patriot’s Pen winners were Brooklyn Hager (first), Rylee Paddock (second) and Leah McBride (third).
“For 243 years, America has been a beacon of hope for the world. Although we are not a perfect nation, I truly believe that America is the greatest nation in the world,” Hager said, reciting her essay to a room full of veterans and families. “Being an American means being free. It means that we don’t judge people by their race, choices, or religion. Being an American means being loyal to our country and standing united under our glorious flag.”
McBride continued with her own essay, highlighting America’s education system, diversity and democracy.
“Freedom is a very important thing to everyone and we are lucky to live in a free nation that our forefathers sacrificed their lives to make us free,” McBride said.
High school students recorded an audio essay for the Voice of Democracy program.
Voice of Democracy winners were Kathleen Simons (first), Anna Yang (second) and Nithilan Ramanitharan (third).
“America’s legacy is one of virtue and liberty thanks to our strong values and the military which supports them,” Simons said, reciting her essay. “We, who have the blessing and privilege to call ourselves Americans, owe everything to each man and woman who has worn the uniform, answered the call, seen a fellow soldier perish or given their own life for this country and our values. Without those willing to give everything, America would not be great.”
Yang continued, “America is great because of our devotion to the American dream. We, Americans, part of an aggregate of cultures, religions, ethnicities and backgrounds, are united by this one idea. The dream is personal, individual, unique to you and unique to me, yet it belongs to all of us.”
Ramanitharan also spoke of the American dream.
“The American dream resonates and applies to anyone, and unifies us as a self-respecting and proud nation,” he said. “The dream that makes us unique, the dream that anyone can forge their own path and manifest their aspirations into reality.”
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