Sixth grader Bailey Schwagel penned the winning essay for the local division of the national 2020-2021 Patriot’s Pen contest. The competition is sponsored by the Milbank VFW and VFW Auxiliary. Veronica Fonder, an eighth grader took second place; Keira Steffen, a seventh grader, was selected as the third-place winner.
This year’s theme is “What is Patriotism to Me?”. The contest is open to all sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students, including home-schooled students. Both Schwagel’s and Fonder’s essays advance to the district competition. Two essays will be submitted from Milbank this year due to the large number of local participants. The local winners received a certificate, medal, and a monetary prize.
District winners go to the state contest. The state winner receives an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C.
Bailey’s Essay: What patriotism means to me. What patriotism means to me is how I love and support my country. I support my country by supporting the military. I support the military by thanking the veterans who have gone to war knowing they might die. I support the veterans that have died and the veterans that have came back from war. People have stepped up and done their part by going to war. Our life would be so different if we didn’t win the wars we won. We wouldn’t have the rights or the freedoms we have today if people didn’t step up and do their part. That leads me to how I love my country. I love my country because on every 4th of July we frank the people who have fought for us. I would be thankful for their fighting because if they didn’t our country would be way different. We wouldn’t have freedom, like the freedom of speech. The freedom of speech gives us the right to speak up and share our opinions about laws and voting. We also wouldn’t have the freedom of religion. The freedom of religion gives us the right to pick our religion. And the last freedom I will share is the freedom of owning weapons. The freedom of owning your own weapon gives the ability to have a weapon in houses or have a weapon in a safe area. But we would never have had these freedoms if it weren’t for the people that choose to fight for our freedom. This leads me to how I honor my country. I do this by saying the pledge every morning in school and never disrespect the flag. I also thank people that have donated money, food, and supplies. On Memorial Day we honor and remember the people that have served. The people that have lost their lives for us. We always need to remember and honor those people. I have a grandpa that is a veteran. He stepped up and did his part. And he is still with me today. I am proud that he stepped up and did the right thing. This is what patriotism means to me. It means to love, support, and honor your country. I hope you always remember and honor the people that have fought for you. They willing offered their lives for our freedoms so our country would be safe.
photo: Veronica Fonder, Bailey Schwagel, Keira Steffen