Each year, Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsors the Patriot’s Pen Essay youth essay contest. The essay contest encourages students in grades six through eight to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. This year’s theme was “America’s Gift to My Generation.”
Perdido Middle School seventh-grader Luke McIntyre came in first place for the school and VFW Post 7016. Braxton Scarborough finished second in the competition. Luke’s essay and Braxton’s essay will go on to the next level of competition.
At Perdido School’s Salute to Veterans, Luke read his essay, which follows here, to the assembly.
America’s Gift to My Generation
“Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Adilia [Adlai] Stevenson
To all the Veterans in this country I say, ”Thank you.” Your gift of willingness to fight for this country, to preserve our freedom which you have fought for and endowed us with cannot be equaled. Through your honor, integrity and personal courage, you have been selfless and devoted to all Americans; so, thank you on behalf of everyone.
America’s greatest gift to my generation would the world I am blessed to live in today. She has changed and developed in many ways through the years. Beginning as 13 colonies and growing into 50 states. From the Boston Tea Party, to two World Wars and the current War on Terrorism, Americans have always answered the call to defend our freedom and ensure its continuation for our future.
Another gift America has given my generation would be the people of America. America has given me many people; such as family, friends and mentors that I can look up to and emulate. Without your guiding examples, we would not be blessed with the opportunities we have in our free society. The reason is that all of them have contributed to the greatest nation in the world. We Americans are the managers of these gifts and talents we have received from God, and whether we choose to use them or not, is up to us. If we want our country to continue moving in a positive direction, then we all need to use these gifts for the good not only of ourselves, but for all Americans and future generations.
I would also like to add a special shout out to King George, the king of England, at the time of America’s beginnings, for taxing us without representation. If he hadn’t given the colonists this rallying point, they might never have revolted, and America would have grown to be part of England just like Scotland. So, thank you King George for pushing us into independence. More importantly, thank you Veterans and all the citizens of America, for the amazing gifts you have given us; freedom, tranquility and the right to make choices to keep America strong for generations to come.