Veterans of Foreign Wars: Knapp earns second place at district level
Submitted by Patty Locher
Sabetha VFW Post 7285
Nathan Knapp of has earned second place in the First District contest of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy youth essay contest. Knapp was awarded $75 for his achievement.
This VFW annual audio essay contest is a script-writing program designed to give high school students the opportunity to voice their opinion on the patriotic theme, which changes each year, and to express their thoughts to the American people. Below is Knapp’s winning essay on this year’s theme, “Why My Vote Matters.”
“For want of a nail a shoe was lost, for want of a shoe a horse was lost, for want of a horse a battle was lost, for want of a battle a kingdom was lost and all for the want of a horseshoe-nail. Detail can make all the difference. From the timing of reinforcements, to the number of life boats on a ship to the very last vote in a race.
Here are six reasons why my vote will matter.
The first is the enduring effect a vote will have for me. When I vote I will want to know the answer to this question: what law is regarded as supreme? Is it the Constitution and Biblical moral law or is it the mentality that such things are living, changing with each generation. Whether congressman, judge or president, all of them will take part in making, affirming or enforcing laws under which I will live. Yet, voting is more than filling an office for my sake. It is part of how I consider others.
Which brings us to our second reason – honoring the armed forces.
My great-great-uncle served in World War II France, suffering grief, loneliness, privations and trench-foot. He learned to enjoy simple pleasures like the root beer and black jelly beans he gave me when I did his yard. At the same time my great-grandpa was in the South Pacific missing four years of his little son’s life. My cousin served in Iraq where he contracted a heart-damaging virus which has nearly taken his life several times. Comfort, safety, family, time, health. These were what war demanded of them. Since Congress declares war and we the people elect those in Congress, I must take utmost care in the selection of those who deploy our troops. Our military fights the war with flesh and blood and by voting we can fight to keep what they defend. We honor them by doing so.
Voting to uphold Constitutional principles honors my past and present countrymen who have striven to defend the cause of a democracy within a republic. This is the third reason why my vote matters. By voting, each generation passes on the baton of liberty to the next and so protects the freedom our Founders fought for and the freedom we, as well as those after us, will enjoy. As President Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
This is closely related to the fourth reason – consideration of my future countrymen. Elections are a bloodless war, fought by the citizens of this great land. We fire our votes as bullets, striving to win each political battle not only for ourselves but for our posterity. Each individual is standing at his or her post, on guard to defend the country, to secure the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To aid in the protection of their countrymen, including those yet unborn. If the soldier falls asleep at his post, most serious consequences will follow. My vote allows me to perform a necessary duty in the battle between freedom and oppression. It is a service to my country.
The fifth reason is that there are times when my vote may even be critical.
In my state a number of years ago a race for a seat in the House was so close the winner was officially decided by lot. A candidate in my own area running for magistrate judge lost by 13 votes. One extended family could have changed the tables. We may be tempted to think that a single vote won’t matter, but if we will not move ourselves to do something as simple as voting, we will not bestir ourselves to serve in more costly ways. To lay down comfort, health, family, time. The Bible says in Luke 16:10, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.”
And finally, my vote reminds me of the treasure i must defend or lose. My great-grandmother has been niece, wife, mother and grandmother to soldiers of nearly a century of our history. At the age of 99, needing constant care, she continues to vote in each election. She has carried this mission with her through the years and has passed it to her children, who in turn passed it to their children, who in turn passed it to their children. And someday, if I am blessed with a family, I will teach my children.
My vote is like the horseshoe-nail – a detail that may seem insignificant. But it is about the principles we defend and those we honor. Voting is a mindset. The nail was lost due to carelessness, and our freedom will be lost if we are careless in its protection. If something so small as a horseshoe-nail can be instrumental in something so big as the loss of a kingdom, something so small as a single vote can be influential in the course of a nation.”