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Elks Grand Lodge Americanism essay contest winners announced

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This year, members of the Elks Grand Lodge Americanism Committee selected the theme, “Why I am proud to pledge allegiance to our flag,” for the 2011-2012 Grand Lodge Americanism Essay Contest.

The contest starts with the subordinate lodges, progresses through District and State Levels, and ends with the national winners. This patriotic contest gives school children in grades 5-8 the opportunity to express views on their pride in America.

The number of essays submitted this year from both Division I (5th and 6th grade students) and Division II (7th and 8th grade students) totaled 423. The top three students in each division were selected and forwarded on to the District level.

Brainerd Elks Lodge No. 615 awarded the following students for their accomplishments at the local level:

Division I winners were Tanner Lundberg, Forestview sixth grader, first place; Laura Wadsten, Forestview sixth grader, second place; and Nicole Rud, Forestview sixth grader, third place.

Division II winners were Emma Litke, Pillager seventh grader, first place; Joshua Van Horn, St. Francis seventh grader, second place; and Theodore Knudson, St. Francis seventh grader, third place.

Tanner Lundberg

I’m proud of our flag because it represents our country’s beginning. It stands for the time when our country was first divided and then came together to form a strong unified country of people from various backgrounds. These people were called Americans and they worked and fought for their independence as a new country.

The allegiance we have to our flag stands for the struggles that our country encountered developing our early form of government. Out government formed the foundation that organized people under one set of rules and representatives. This foundation helped establish our country and unified our people around our flag.

As our country continued to develop, the flag bonded Americans together in challenges that we faced. These challenges forced us to work together and create solutions to problems that we experienced. As we became stronger and more organized as a country, we learned to support ourselves and other countries that were less fortunate.

Today our flag reminds us of our past struggles and future challenges for both our people and country. This reminder guides our decisions and provides a belief in American history and value.

In conclusion, our flag and the allegiance we show to it represents our past, present, and future. It brings us together as Americans to believe in freedom and the privileges that we have gained through our struggles as Americans.

Laura Wadsten

Every morning, we recite the pledge of allegiance. Most of us don’t really pay attention to what those 31 words we know by heart mean, but they mean more than most other words we use during the school day. Those 31 words signify what it means to be an American, and I’m proud to recite it every morning.

First of all, the pledge of allegiance unites all Americans together. Every one from Alaska to Florida, from Texas to Minnesota, is held together by the one thing we recite every morning. The pledge of allegiance holds Americans together.

Secondly, the pledge of allegiance reminds all of us about the troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, and those who have fought in wars before to ensure our nation’s freedom. In America we’re allowed the freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness,” unlike in some countries of the world. The troops fighting for us ensure we will keep that freedom.

And lastly, I’m proud to recite the pledge of allegiance because it’s reminding people of the freedom that everyone gets no matter their race, religion, gender, creed or anything else. The Pledge of Allegiance keeps the diversity in America alive.

In conclusion, I’m proud to recite the pledge of allegiance because it holds all Americans together, it reminds us about the troops who have fought for our country, and it reminds us of our freedom and diversity in America.

Nicole Rud

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. I have said the pledge for seven years and I didn’t even know what it meant, until now.

What is the pledge? The pledge is much more than just a saying or a phrase. It is a promise to our country, America, and to the people of the country. Once you say the pledge, once you put your hand over your heart and look at those 50 stars and 13 stripes, there is no turning back, and it is sad that some people break that promise.

On the flag there are 50 stars, one for each state, and 13 stripes, one for each colony. The flag is more than just a piece of cloth; the flag is a symbol. The flag is a symbol like an eagle, like the statue of liberty. It is a symbol of America, a symbol of peace and freedom. The red stands for bravery, the blue stands for justice and the white stands for liberty.

When I look at the flag, I see a lot of things. I see 50 stars, 13 stripes and three basic colors. I think about how many people have died to make the flag stand proud. This is why I am proud to pledge allegiance to our flag.

Emma Litke

I proudly pledge allegiance to the flag because of the words “indivisible” and “liberty and justice for all.” They are very important words. The pledge of allegiance is said throughout the nation by people of all ages, without thought given to what the words really mean.

The pledge of allegiance says our country is “indivisible,” unable to be divided or separated. I believe that is true. During and after 9/11, our country stayed one nation. We showed the terrorists that we would not fall apart. Since 9/11, the citizens of the United States have become more patriotic. The World Trade Center is not gone. I am proud to live in a country where 24 tons of scrap Trade Center steel has been used to build the USS New York, a warship designed for missions against terrorists. How fitting that the ship’s motto is “Never Forget.”

“Liberty and justice for all” has been a journey for the citizens of the United States. In the 1700s and 1800s our country dealt with the evils of slavery, Indian Wars and other devastating events, such as The Trail of Tears. In the 1900s our country experienced the Civil Rights Movement. American citizens continue the journey of “liberty and justice for all” as they take on the issues of our challenging world.

Writing this essay has caused me to reflect on the words of the pledge of allegiance. From now on, when I pledge allegiance, I will not only honor the flag, but I will think about our “one nation under God” that is “indivisible,” and I will think about what I can do on the journey of “liberty and justice for all.”

Joshua Van Horn

I am proud to pledge my allegiance to the flag as a boy scout in the United States of America. It makes me proud to know that my country salutes one flag. I have learned in scouting that the flag shows our honor and dignity to a country so bold and strong. The flag is a way to not only show our allegiance to the country but to the troops who serve in our country and overseas. Our pledge and theirs unite into one very powerful chant. This makes me happy to know that we will all stand together during hard times.

Theodore Knudson

I am proud to pledge allegiance to the United States of America because I am proud of our country. We are fair, free and strong. Our pledge is a unique sign of our country, just like the flag we are pledging allegiance to. We are one of only a very small handful of countries with a pledge. That makes our pledge all the more special, unique and important to us. The pledge shows that we are unified by one flag, under one government by consent of the governed.

The pledge wouldn’t be important without our flag. The stars and stripes are what we live for and with. Old Glory is our protection, our peace. It is the symbol of the free, the strong, and the brave. It is a symbol of who we are. It is our beacon of hope in dark times. It is the reason we push on in battle. It survived through some of the harshest times. It fought through the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, The Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm and Iraq/Afghanistan. We have proven our strength through all these wars, and we are not even 250 years old.

I think as long as the flag flies, we will pledge allegiance. I know I always will. I also think that as long as we pledge allegiance, our flag will still fly. That is why I am proud to pledge allegiance.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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