Local VFW Post awards post winners
Submitted by Patty Locher
At an awards presentation Wednesday evening, Dec. 13, Sabetha Memorial Post 7285 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars honored the top three essayists in this year’s Voice of Democracy audio essay contest for high school students and Patriot’s Pen essay contest for middle school students.
The Voice of Democracy winners, selected out of five entries, and the scholarship they received from Post 7285, are: first place, Laurel Smith, whose essay is printed below, $100; second place, Helen Krehbiel, $75; and third place, Nathan Knapp, $50.
The Patriot’s Pen winners, selected out of 23 entries, are: first place, Bayley Wasinger, whose essay is printed below, $75; second place, Nathan Voos, $50; third place, Jonathan Knapp, $25. The first-place entries in both contests were forwarded to district level.
Both essay contests have a minimum and maximum length, and the theme of each contest is the title used for each essay printed below.
VOICE OF DEMOCRACY
American History: Our Hope for the Future
By Laurel Smith, Senior, Sabetha High School
Freedom. Elections. Taxation with representation. What a thought. Our Founding Fathers had a hope to make a great, democratic nation. This was an unprecedented idea. In fact, other countries called our founders crazy, claiming that democracy and the “American Experiment,” as it was coined, would most surely fail. However, America today is as strong as it was in 1776.
When our Founding Fathers built this nation, they had hopes and dreams for themselves and following generations. Today we build on their aspirations. In the late eighteenth century, our founders’ original hopes were being corrupted and eradicated. As detailed in the United States Declaration of Independence, the colonists declared independence from injustices the autocratic King of England inflicted upon them. Among other transgressions, the King refused to create laws beneficial to the common people; assembled a government that lacked any American representation; outlawed free elections for the colonists; taxed the colonists without any regard for their needs; and allowed trials to be held without juries. Due to this corruptive behavior, our predecessors set out to gain freedom for themselves and others, fighting bravely and proudly in hopes of a liberated and secure future. Americans today still fight for those rights. Granted, we fight for them in various ways, and at times we disagree on the best method of how to most effectively combat impediments to basic rights. Some serve in the military, others participate in marches, more petition and lobby for their voices to be heard. Still others post their opinions on social media or talk of the government at the dinner table. However we express it, ultimately, we fight for a common goal: the best for America and her future.
Perhaps the most important contribution our Founding Fathers gave us was a written proclamation of our unalienable rights: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The most important right we as Americans have been given is liberty. Liberty can come in many forms, but its overarching theme is freedom. The founders hoped for future generations, including you and me, to have the freedom to do what we want to do and pursue what we care deeply about, whether that be obtaining a bachelor’s degree, opening a bakery, or running for an elected office. While they may not have agreed with everyone’s personal choices, our founders yearned for a future where everyone could have the freedom to express themselves, regardless of others’ points of view. In America today, we have the same hope. We can vote freely, voice our opinions, and take advantage of all the opportunities we are given to continue using and securing our liberties. Though Americans, in one way or another, may still be fighting for certain rights today, with each passing moment, we come closer to fulfilling the hopes and dreams of freedom that our Founding Fathers set out to give us.
America’s Gift to My Generation
By Bayley Wasinger, Sixth Grade, Sabetha Middle School
When you think of the word “gift,” most people immediately think of a box wrapped in shiny paper with a big red ribbon on top. Imagine waking up one day and suddenly your parents tell you that you can have any gift that you would like. Most children would likely answer something like “I want an Xbox!” or “I want a private pool!”
What I believe to be America’s Greatest Gift to My Generation is something cherished more than a favorite new toy, book, or movie. America’s Greatest Gift to My Generation is freedom. Without freedom, what would our country be like?
How did we get freedom? Why was it given to us? We didn’t earn freedom. Men and women sacrificed their lives to give America the right to be free. We all owe respect to all those who died at war and honor to those who are still alive.
Consider living in a world without freedom. There is the possibility that you could be a slave or a prisoner. Would you be given the right to stand up for yourself? Absolutely not. Freedom means choices and having the right to do what you wish to. Without freedom, our lives would be very rough. Wealthy people would have the right to say, “do this, do that,” while slaves and prisoners have no choice – they must obey or receive severe punishment. Imagine living like this.
Freedom is truly an amazingly cherished thing. Some people never stop to think why they are given a choice between so many things; such as chocolate or vanilla ice cream. You are given a choice over anything. Without freedom, you couldn’t even choose your favorite ice cream.
Freedom is America’s Gift to My Generation. This one word can mean so many things. Americans are lucky to be free and independent, offered an endless buffet of choices. This is America’s Gift to My Generation.