SAEGERTOWN — Students from Saegertown Junior-Senior High School recently competed in the Pennsylvania American Legion Essay Contest through Legion Post 205 in Saegertown. This year’s topic was “What does being a patriot mean to me?”
The Saegertown Legion is actively involved in the essay contest, which is in its 83rd year.
“As American Legionnaires, we fully believe that education is the cornerstone upon which the future of America is built," Post 205 Commander Dan Cole said. "Our Essay Scholarship Contest gives the students an opportunity to showcase their talents and abilities in English.”
Seventy-one students in English teacher Stacey Hetrick’s sophomore classes entered the contest. The essays were read by a committee of teachers at Saegertown High, and the final selection of winners was made by the board of Legion Post 205.
Katelyn Young, the daughter of Michael and Sharon Young of Saegertown, was the winner. Her essay will now move on to the district level judging and possibly beyond.
“I am really proud of myself and happy and surprised,” Young said. “I had a hard time getting started, but I was at a Steelers game and the entire crowd sang our national anthem together. Jets flew over the stadium, and everyone was standing and cheering. My mom said, ‘Now that’s patriotic,’ and that’s what I wrote about.”
Runners up were Dayna Woodruff, daughter of Tim and Shelly Woodruff; Chloe Luchansky, daughter of Chris and Suzette Luchansky; and Josh Weaver, son of John and Cheryl Weaver.
“I am really excited that I won, and I was very surprised," Woodruff said. "I’ve never thought of myself as a patriot, but I guess it came through in my writing.”
I think of all the wars our country has fought, and still is fighting, so we can have the wonderful gift of freedom. There have been many brave women and men who have risked their lives so we can live the way we want to in the United States. We still have women and men fighting for our freedom today.
Some of my relatives have fought in different wars. My great uncle, Mel, my grandpa, and my mom's cousin, Lee, fought to defend our great country, knowing that they could be killed.
Freedom means to be able to vote for whoever you want to be in office, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, the right to a fair trial, and many other freedoms that we take for granted.
To get the freedoms that we so enjoy, Americans have fought bravely and many have lost their lives. Our veterans have fought to keep our country free and we should all be thankful for that. I am glad that we honor our veterans and I am proud to be an American!
5th grade class
What does freedom mean to me? Freedom means to have the right to do and say what you like. This is how the dictionary explains freedom. Pope John Paul II said that "Every generation of Americans needs to know that freedom consists not in doing what we like, but having the right to do what we ought."
I think freedom is an amazing thing because at 11 years old, I'm able to have an education, learn to play the French horn, and learn how to sing in a choir.
Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we have police, doctors, firemen and women to help us when we need it. I don't have to worry about a war in Wadena.
We have soldiers fighting for our freedom. Their courage allows me to think of things I'd like to do, like care for my lambs, cats, dogs, read or draw. That's what freedom means to me.
Ariel Ronnenberg Mr. Sea's
5th grade class
What freedom means to me is not being judged by what I do and what I say. Also I would like to say thanks to the veterans that fought for my freedom.
To me, having freedom is enough to make me happy because a lot of people in other countries don't have the freedom we take for granted. I think if people realized how lucky they are they would have more respect for the veterans and more support for them. So think for a moment, are you unlucky or are you just feeling bad for yourself, think about the kids and adults who don't have freedom.
So support the veterans who have risked their lives and fought for your freedom every day.
6th grade class
To me, freedom means the right to choose. I can choose my friends, my actions, my life.
I can decide what I want to be when I grow up or where I might want to live. If all of those brave men and women hadn't fought for us in war, who knows where America would be today.
Freedom is something many, many people take for granted, even me. In some countries, people dream about freedom. They wish for it, too.
That's why we should thank all the brave men and women who've risked their lives and lost their lives, because without them, freedom would only be a dream for us, too, and not the reality it is today. So thank you to all who have seen war. Because of you, I have freedom, my family has freedom, and the country has freedom.
6th grade class
Do you know what freedom means to me? It means that I can do what I want in my country because veterans fought for my freedom and independence in the Revolu-tionary War.
Because of them we live in a country that is free. We can choose where we want to learn our own religion. We can express our feelings and not get in trouble for it. If we didn't have these freedoms, what do you think America would be like? What if we didn't have courageous people to fight for us like in World Wars I and II? Probably half of our population would be wiped out.
That means many families would be afraid to leave their homes in case they got hurt or even killed. Every night we would lay awake, wondering if this would be our last night. We don't have to worry, though. We have troops fighting for us at this very moment in Iraq. If someone said, "Who cares about freedom," what would you say? Would you go along with that person, or would you be the one to stand above the crowd and say, "I care about freedom, because of freedom, we can do what we want each day living freely, with no worries." Think about it. Freedom is a very special gift in our country that not many countries have. We are lucky to be free. Thanks to all the veterans and troops who made the ultimate sacrifice. America truly is the land of the free.
6th grade class
What did we fight for in Korea? Or the World Wars? What is worth the lives and limbs lost in these wars? What makes the USA different from other nations, so appealing to people of other lands that they come by the millions? Why do we choose how to live unlike other countries? The answer is freedom.
Freedom is the ability to make choices and to carry them out, as long as they show no unjust, unnecessary or unreasonable limits of others' freedom. Without freedom, there would be no afternoon or evening activities. In other countries, religion is discouraged or even forbidden, so there is no or little amount of freedom of religion. There's also freedom of assembly, press, speech and economic freedom, which is to be able to profit from land in America. Because we have freedom, we can speak freely and not be punished.
The passengers of Flight 93 which crashed on Sept. 11 is an example of the meaning of freedom. The brave Americans of Flight 93 and other victims of 9-11 paid the ultimate price for freedom, so we should pay them respect and gratitude. True freedom means giving as well as receiving, and the price is high.
A person's race, gender or physical limitations don't matter because we are all equal, so we receive the same amount of freedom. Sometimes we take freedom for granted, and don't think of all the little things that we get to enjoy because we are free. When you stop and think about how life would be without it, it makes you very thankful to live here and enjoy the promise of freedom. This is what freedom means to me.