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‘What does it mean to love your country?’ essay winners announced by Elks

This year’s theme was “What does it mean to love your country?”

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The Brainerd Elks has announced the following student winners in its Americanism essay contest.

This year’s theme was “What does it mean to love your country?”

Ella Maciej
Ella Maciej

By Ella Maciej

Forestview Middle School, Grade 6

Division I

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1st place Brainerd Lodge 615

1st place Minnesota Elks Association Central District

2nd place Minnesota Elks Association State

What does it mean to love your country? Loving your country is much different than just putting a flag on your porch and calling it a day. Loving your country means you care about our country’s history. It means you stay true to what you believe in, yet respect others opinions. It also means respecting our veterans and our flag.

Loving your country means you really care and want to learn about our country’s history. That could mean asking a parent or even a friend to share what they know, or just looking through a trusted website. When we care about our nation’s history, it shows that we really do love America and learning about our country’s past will help you better understand the future.

Loving your country means you stand up for what you believe in and respect your neighbor’s beliefs. Sometimes you have to love your country enough to stand up to what you think is wrong or unfair. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to listen to what people say. We still have to respect others’ beliefs as well.

Loving your country means you respect our veterans and our flag. Our veterans protect us and America. They do this because they love their country. Our flag deserves respect too. When we stand for the pledge it shows we respect our country, and when we say the pledge we are really saying I love you, America.

Loving your country might mean learning about your country’s past, standing up for what you believe in, respecting veterans and our flag, but it can mean a lot of other things too, so don’t set a limit for what you can do for our country to show you love America.

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Nathaniel Biermaier
Nathaniel Biermaier

By Nathaniel Biermaier

Forestview Middle School, Grade 6

Division I

2nd place Brainerd Lodge 615

Before we can understand what it means to love your country we need to go back to our founding fathers and the principles they stood for and why they even came here.

Our founding fathers are the ones that gave us the constitution that we still stride by today. They’re the ones who made the thriving country and they came here because they envisioned a nation with unalienable rights, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Our nation has become a boiling pot, there are people from almost every country around the world. Each one of them came to America for a better life.

And the immigrants came here for a reason didn’t they. They had better opportunities to find work and have better living opportunities. They also moved to escape the trouble they might have had in their old countries, also they came to have better education. They wanted to start a business and own a band, finish their bucket list, etc., and mostly they didn’t want to be ruled over but rule their own life! And most importantly they wanted freedom!

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So what does it mean to love your country? It means freedom is worth fighting for, it means respecting our soldiers who fought for our country and freedom. It means standing for our founding principles laid out in our constitution and bill of rights also defending the god-given rights we received at birth. It means being a productive member of society. It means holding your hand over your heart and removing your hat and standing for the pledge of allegiance to the outstanding flag of the United States of America.

So overall we know about our founding fathers and we know about the immigrants that came to America to have a better life. But most of all we know what it means to love our country.

Breckyn Gangle
Breckyn Gangle

By Breckyn Gangl

Forestview Middle School, Grade 6

Division I

3rd Place Brainerd Lodge 615

2nd place Minnesota Elks Association Central District

3rd place Minnesota Elks Association State

We have many ways to show love for our country. We are strong, free, good Americans. We have fought battles. We have won wars. We have taken on diseases. We have not given up. We have no intention of giving in. We are good Americans.

We can show love to our country by respecting those who fought for us. We can do this by thanking them, and by praying for them. Also, we can stand and say the Pledge and National Anthem, We can respect them by remembering the ones who fought and died or got hurt. This is what it means to love your country.

We can show love for our country by supporting the others who love it. We can do this by listening to them, caring about their well being, and by helping them through tough times and giving them a smile or a hug. Showing love to our country means showing love to the people. This is what it means to love our country.

We can show love for our country by keeping it clean. We can do this by not littering, and by picking up trash out of the road or the wildlife. Also we can show love for our country by recycling and composting and by not wasting, but using reusable and economy friendly things.

We can do many things to show love for our country, from respecting soldiers, to supporting others, to keeping clean. What does it mean to love your country? It means to care. Care about the people. Care about the environment. Care about the medical world. Care about the fighting soldiers.This is what it means to love your country.

Madeline Ball
Madeline Ball

By Madeline Ball

Forestview Middle School, Grade 7

Division II

1st place Brainerd Lodge 615

2nd place Minnesota Elks Association Central District

Love is a quality everyone can demonstrate; your friends, your parents, but most importantly, you. Love isn’t discrimination or hate. Rather, love is a beautiful thing. It's accepting and respecting your fellow citizens; you aren’t above or below them. You should flaunt your love in the best of days and in the darkest of times because it might just be the beacon of light guiding others through a tumult of storms. Love for your country isn’t just one thing, it is many things.

There are three words that I believe show love for your country: support, devotion, and patriotism. Supporting your country is loving your country. Support is lifting someone up in times of trouble. Having support of our country, let alone our community, has played a pivotal role in the making of our home. All throughout our history, we have plowed forward as a people, pushing through hardship and poverty. Without support of each other, our country wouldn’t be what it is today. Another crucial factor is devotion. Devotion to your country is as important as support. It is sticking with the people you love through every battle, remaining loyal and of service. Patriotism is the binding of the book. It holds all the pages together. A great way to demonstrate patriotism is by giving your country strength through your actions and ideas. Voting and supplying others help, for example. After all, patriotism means devotion and support of one’s country.

So, in conclusion, you can show love for your country by supporting it and projecting infinite amounts of devotion and patriotism. The love you give your country might just be the shove it needs, pushing it back into balance.

Eva Woodfill
Eva Woodfill

By Eva Woodfill

Forestview Middle School, Grade 7

Division II

2nd place Brainerd Lodge 615

1st place Minnesota Elks Association Central District

3rd place Minnesota Elks Association State

Loving your country has many meanings, but to me, one of the most important things is appreciating all of the places that you have grown up around. That means taking care of it. Watering your garden, not vandalizing protected areas. Be careful not to disturb the graves of passed ones. You may not have known that person or their family, but you can still respect that person. Also you should stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. This shows respect to the soldiers that have fought for your rights in your country.

To love your country means to be proud of your country. Be proud of the place you came from, accept it, think of it as an honor to live in the country you live in. Another meaning for loving your country is that you educate yourself on your country’s history. You learn about the important events that have occurred. To love your country means to respect the citizens in your country. Treat everyone equally, especially the people that have served your country. They have risked their lives for your rights, and there is no reason why you should disrespect those people. To love your country is to help, such as volunteering to help the homeless or at a place where veterans are being taken care of. Loving your country is a very important thing. Some people show love in different ways, but in the end, you all love your country.

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