While I am on the subject of teen involvement (which began in my last post about the performance of South Middle School eighth graders at the annual state Project Citizen competition, I should mention the work done by three SMS eighth graders, Jessica Cashion, Grace Randolph, and Michelle Holden, who captured the top three places in the annual Joplin Elks Lodge patriotic essay contest. This year's theme was: "What I See When I Look Up at the American Flag."
I don't have copies of the essays written by Grace and Michelle, but I thought I would share Jessica's contest winner, which has been forwarded to the state and national contests.
"What I See When I Look Up at the American Flag"
By Jessica Cashion
When most look up at the flag they only see pieces of colored cloth sewn together to make a pattern. Few take time to see the flag is a symbol for freedom; a reminder of all the nation has been through. When I look at the American flag, I remember it has been through tough times in history.
The Revolutionary War was about America gaining independence. The Civil War divided us, but after each war, America remained united and our flag has flown with pride.
So we should pause, remember and give America a renewed sense of pride. Our flag stands for freedom. It gives us opportunities that do not exist anywhere else in the world. It reminds us we have the freedoms of speech, assembly, religion, petition, and the press clearly stated under the First Amendment.
The flag stands for the sense of security that is the Armed Forces. Soldiers are trained to protect and serve. Those who lost their lives should be revered, and our veterans should be honored because they served under the American flag for a cause in which they believed. To them, it is not just a piece of cloth; it is the symbol of a great nation; one for which they have lived and died.
When we look at our flag, we should see it as our veterans do, not just as a piece of cloth, but as a symbol of our nation…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.