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‘Why I am proud to be an American’

Tanner Lundberg and Angela Gudahl’s compositions of “Why I am proud to be an American” advanced to district-level competition in the annual Americanism Essay Contest sponsored by the national Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks and Brainerd Elks Lodge No. 615.

The Elks Americanism Essay Contest committee read 323 entries. Six works were selected from participating youths in grades 5-8. Writings were separated into fifth and sixth grade and seventh and eighth grade. Representing the fifth- and sixth-grade entrants were: first place, Tanner Lundberg; second place, Laura Wadsten; and third place, McKenna Barnett. All are fifth-grade students at Forestview Middle School.

Seventh- and eighth-grade winners were: first place, Angela Gudahl, Pequot Lakes Middle School; second place, Austin Leikvoll, Pierz Healy High School; and third place, Mia Hoffman, Pierz Healy High School.

First-place winners each received a $35 check, second place a $25 check and third place a $15 check. All six received a pizza gift certificate from the Brainerd Elks.

Angela Gudahl, Grade 7, Pequot Lakes Middle School

In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue, this little action lead to a chain reaction in which the United States of America was formed. Independence, liberty, and equality, American went through big troubles just to gain any of these rights and fought for them with their heads held high. Being Native American my early ancestors must have gone through huge trouble just to get a taste of equal rights. Brave soldiers today continue to fight for our nation’s safety, rights and security. They go through everyday troubles just for America and everyone in it.

Hispanics, African Americans, Native Americans, and even women have all had to fight for their freedom as well. People like Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Harriett Tubman and so on, have made freedom possible in our everyday lives. Even today people in other countries are not as fortunate. You have places over in the Middle East where the women can’t even show their faces, places where slavery is still legal, and places where you can only have a certain amount of children. All of these harsh laws make me very thankful in where I live and all the opportunities I have.

Everyone deserves a taste of equal rights, but no one should have the right to own someone else as property. Everyone was created equal and that’s what matters. In America we are all treated as human beings with equal rights, and that is why I am proud to be an American.

Austin Leikvoll, Grade 8, Pierz Healy High School

I am proud to be an American. I know that here I can do whatever I want to do because America is the freest nation in the world. Our constitution declares that as Americans we have our undeniable rights. Freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the right to bear arms are some big freedoms given to us. When an American gets in trouble they will always have a right to a trial and to be represented. Americans will always have a voice in their lives and can’t be put down.

I am also proud to be an American because I know that the United States of America always reaches out and helps other nations that have suffered. For example when a country faces problems like with economy or terrorists Americans will help them at our own expense. One good example is the earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. The United States and volunteer groups sent tons of help to Haiti. These people helped build shelters and provide food for thousands of Haitian people. Another example is the mine collapse in Chile, NASA developed technology to help the miners escape for free. Without American help from NASA it may have taken much longer to get them out.

In conclusion, I am proud to be an American because everyone in this country has undeniable rights and are free. People in our country always reach out to parts of the world less fortunate. I am proud that in hard times the United States will provide help and leadership for the rest of the world.

Mia Hoffman, Grade 8, Pierz Healy High School

I am proud to be an American because of my freedom, specifically freedom of expression. I have the freedom and right to speak my mind, make my own decisions, and share my opinions freely. In our country, without dictatorship of monarchy, I live day-to-day life in the decisions and choices that I make myself. I have the right to protest about issues I find unfair, and be my own person, expressing myself freely and having access to my rights. This country gives us the freedom of saying what we want, wearing what we want, and essentially doing what we want.

Another reason I’m proud to inhabit this country is our system; our organization of laws and functions necessary to run this country without chaos. Our system keeps order and keeps disorganization and confusion at bay. We have a money system, one that allows us to make and distribute money, manage it, make it and/or spend it. We have a law system, one that keeps us safe and organized, that gives us our freedom and rights but specific limitations as to of what, in order to keep us all free of harm.

In conclusion, out of the many reasons to be proud of America, these are most significant to me. The evolution and growth of our country and its advances allow us to thrive. Our rights are always entitled to us, and we are free. That is why I’m proud to be an American.

Tanner Lundberg, Grade 5, Forestview Middle School

Do you enjoy your freedom as an American? Do you know how our country’s citizens became free? If you aren’t sure, read about America’s history or ask a person who served in the military. I’m proud to be an American.

I’m proud that people volunteer to join our military. Our soldiers risk their lives every day. While they are serving our country they only get to see their families for a short time. These soldiers protect us from danger and help us to continually be free.

Being an American makes me proud because we care for and help people all over the world. We protect people that are unfairly attacked for their beliefs. We support countries that are in need by providing medicine, food, clothing and shelter. Our country is always helping people that are less fortunate.

I’m very proud that our country provides people with freedom and rights to make choices for their lives. We vote for people we want to lead our country, state and city. We pick our religion and the job that we like best. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your parents do for a living. Our country also provides an education which could provide better training for future jobs.

In conclusion, I am proud to be an American because we’re free, we care for people, and we have a strong military. I think America is the best country in the world. We should all be proud to say we live in America.

Laura Wadsten, Grade 5, Forestview Middle School

“And I’m Proud to be an American…” The lyrics to that glorious song repeat in my mind as I think, America, the freedom, the soldiers, the historical victory, the country I take pride in being from.

“Where at least I know I’m free…” Freedom is one of the best gifts our country gives to us. Freedom makes us who we are. I can do what I want, when I want. I can wear my hair however I want to. I am my own person. I can’t imagine what life would be like without freedom.

“I won’t forget the men who died…” Many men and women gave their lives for my life to be protected and safe. They leave their family voluntarily, they leave their friends voluntarily, the leave their lives voluntarily, to ensure our nation’s future. It is depressing that we only cherish that fact once a year.

“And defend her still today…” I am proud of the small American colony at Fort McHenry nervously defending against the huge British ships with practically nothing. But they kept that American flag waving high and tall. If they hadn’t we might not be here today or, we would be under the rule of England.

“For I’m proud to be an American…” I am a patriotic American. I am a proud American. And I am a triumphant American. Most importantly I am American. I recite the words of the end of Lee Greenwood’s famous song… “God Bless the U.S.A.!”

McKenna Barnett, Grade 5, Forestview Middle School

Through bloody wars, crazy terrorists, and threatening natural disasters, America is still going strong. People risk their lives everyday to save ours. When I found out that Americans do this, it pulled my heartstrings.

The fact that most people care so much about our country takes your breath away. It’s terrible to imagine how people feel when a loved one leaves for war. The family says good-bye, but knows that the soldier may not be coming back. If the soldier gets killed, the family may have money or emotional troubles and he knows that, but he fights for our freedom anyway.

Americans have helped other countries, too. We have helped Haiti with their earthquake clean-up, Chile with their stuck miners, and much, much more. Instead of ignoring those other countries’ troubles, we take action. There are more good people than bad people in the US.

“Oh say can you see?” are the first words to the world’s greatest song. So whenever you think, “It’s just our national anthem,” it’s actually more than that. It’s a song that represents our country and tells about our history. The next time you sing that song, sing it with heart, admiring the people who have fought and died for us.

When Veterans Day comes around, thank our soldiers! Think thoroughly about that. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you want to go to war? Appreciate every day you have. Yet always be proud to be an American. Be thankful that we’re free.