Bellevue American Legion Post #273 recently conducted its annual Patriotic Essay Contest, “What the Flag Means to Me.” Fifth graders at both Bellevue Community Schools and St. Joseph’s Elementary School submitted essays, with the top winner sent on to the Iowa American Legion organization for the state contest. Printed here is the winning essay from Bellevue Community School. First place went to Payton Kettmann of Bellevue. Second place went to Amelia Schroeder of Marquette Catholic.
FIRST PLACE: What the Flag Means to Me
By Payton Kettmann
Bellevue Community Schools
Have you ever wondered what an 11-year-old thought of the flag? A child who has been living for 11 years, but has no clue about the origin of it. Who has a dad who loves it and teaches her ways to respect and show honor for it - well here it is. In my opinion, the flag stands for respect, honor, and freedom.
The flag means respect because of the soldiers. They deserve respect for protecting us. We show the flag respect by not letting the flag touch the ground. Another way we show respect for the flag is whenever you are at a football game or sports event and the National Anthem comes on, you stop at whatever you are doing and listen with your hand on your heart.
The flag means freedom for all. We have the freedom to vote. Vote for anyone if you are a Democrat or Republican. We have equal rights to do or say what we want. We make our own choices. But that does not mean we are above the law, no one is above the law. We have the freedom to choose our dream jobs.
The flag represents honor because it’s an honor to have it and we all love it.
We will stay true to our nation. It will survive anything - that is why we celebrate it on 4th of July. All the veterans are honored with the flag.
They would risk their lives just to keep us standing and to keep the flag standing to the ends of the earth.
Please respect the flag and be grateful that we are free. I hope you respect the flag by not letting it touch the ground, show honor by listening to The National Anthem with your hand on your heart and just remember that no matter what happens, the flag will stand.
SECOND PLACE: The American Flag
By Amelia Schroeder
Marquette Catholic Schools
What does the American flag mean to me? It means justice, freedom and happiness.
I think the American flag represents justice, because everyone is treated fairly and the law is applied equally and nobody can tell us what to do. We can live wherever we want, and everybody should have a choice of what they want to do.
I think the American flag represents freedom, because people fought for our country. Freedom lets us live where we want to live. Freedom lets you have a choice of what you want to do. Everyone should be very proud of the military for protecting our freedoms.
I think the flag represents happiness,because the Declaration of Independence gives me the right to pursue my personal dreams which will make me happy. The flag also represents happiness for all people, because they can live life the way they want to.