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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Elks announce essay contest winners

Feb 22, 2013
PHOTO SUBMITTED Fairfield Elks Lodge representative Lyle Maudlin presents Fairfield Middle School sixth-grader Emma Carlson, with a certificate and a $40 check, as her parents, Eric and Christine Carlson, look on. Carlson earned second place in the Elks’ “Our Flag and What It Means to Me” essay contest.

The Fairfield Elks Lodge recently held the essay contest, “Our Flag and What It Means To Me” for area sixth graders.

Kevin Curran, who is in charge of the local contest, said the winners were five students from Van Buren Elementary School: Cole Troutman, Kylee Bass, Brycen Starnes, Brad Dunkin and Courtney Merrill; and one student from Fairfield Middle School: Emma Carlson.

The winning essays are:


First place

Cole Troutman

I have a great deal of respect for our flag. From the placement of the flag on the mountain in Okinawa by our proud Marines, to the placement on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Each time it is placed, it has flown high and proud.

In showing respect to our flag and looking at it, one notices the red stripes. I think they are symbols of the blood and lives that we have lost in our wars and the blood it took to keep the flag flying high in this great nation.

The white symbolizes our freedom and peace. Our freedom is earned by the soldiers who gave their lives for our country, who shed blood, but it also symbolizes to me the support that civilians on American soil give to keep peace at home while our soldiers are away so their spouses and children aren’t scared to walk out their front door each day.

Blue symbolizes the night sky. It is what our on duty soldiers look at to try and see the faces of their spouses and children, and try to find the star that will guide them home.

The stars represent our fifty states. They weren’t given or taken, they were earned by the shedding of our blood, sweat, and tears.

The American flag is what keeps the United States of America running strong. It is the heart and soul of all Americans. That’s what the flag means to me.


First Place

Kylee Bass

When I look at the flag, I see freedom, which is important to me. The freedoms of speech, religion, and independence are also very important to me.

With freedom of speech, I can stand up for myself and nobody can tell me what to do.

With freedom of religion, I can believe in one God or many gods. I have the ability to choose what religion I want to practice. No one can make those choices for me.

Independence is a very important freedom. Independence allows me to choose the career I want, marry the person that I want to marry, and live wherever I want to live.

When I look at the flag, I see red as the blood we have shed to save this country. White is for the innocent, peaceful people who have sacrificed their lives for our country. Blue is freedom and justice. Those colors mean equality to me. I think that all of the colors of the flag come together to show courage. When we say the Pledge of Allegiance, we look at the red, white, and blue, and we say meaningful words like “one nation”, “indivisible”, and “with liberty and justice for all”. We show honor and respect for our flag.

When I think of the tragedies of the past and recent present, like 9/11 and school shootings, our country has shown extraordinary bravery, and we have felt the sadness of it all. We seem to become stronger and unite more than before the tragedies. As a nation, we get back up, show even greater strength, and try to make our country better.

I think of how the flag has changed, how our nation was originally many colonies and many states, and how we stuck through it all and came out on the better side.

These are some of the things the flag means to me. I wonder what our founding fathers would think if they could be here today...


Second place

Bryce Starnes

The flag is an important part of my life. When I think of the many rights that we have, the special meaning that each color on the flag has to me, and how I feel when I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I am proud.

The flag represents the many rights that we have due to Americans who have fought, are fighting, and will fight to keep them. We have the right to be what we want to be. I have the right to grow up to be a chef if that is what I choose. In some countries, you don’t have a choice.

The different shapes and colors that make up our flag have special meanings to me, too. The stars represent the united fifty states that protect our country from other threatening countries. We have thirteen stripes that represent the original colonies that fought to get out of the control of Britain. These stripes represent the lines of people that stand ready to fight to keep our country independent. The red represents the blood that was, is, and will be shed in battle. The blue represents the water that the Navy patrols to keep enemies out of our country. The white represents the happiness I feel within me when I say thanks to all of the veterans that have fought to make our country what it is today.

When I say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning and sing the National Anthem when I’m about to go to sleep at night, I think, “I’m lucky to be able to go to sleep and know I will wake up safe.”

These are some of the things I think of when I look at the flag of the United States of America.


Second place

Emma Carlson

When I observe the flag’s presence, I embrace the pride and happiness inside me. It makes me feel full and satisfied, to know that this beautiful flag is part of my identity. It represents who we are, and who we’ll always be, and who others were. It means we are united, patched together by the flag, and dedicated to this great nation. It also stands for the people who protect our freedom, and their braveness is embedded in the stars. Their courage woven into the red, and the lives of those lost is displayed on the white. We prosper, in this land, comforted by the flag, and forever grateful to its qualities. My grandfather was a veteran and he died, still tied to the symbol of America, and still tied to the flag that was given to my grandmother. I brushed my hand on that flag and remembered the stories he shared, and the love and devotion he had to the stars and stripes. I cried the day of his memorial, not only for him, but also for others who sacrificed and dedicated themselves to defend us. And what our flag means to me, is dedication. And that’s what our flag means to me.


Third place

Brad Dunkin

The flag makes me think of freedom, how free we really are, and how many people lost their lives fighting for our freedom. It also makes me think of how many families lost family members fighting our wars.

The American flag reminds me of the many choices we have in the United States of America. We are able to wear the clothes we want to wear, marry the person we want to marry, and have the freedom of speech to say what we want to say.

I remember the song “The Star Spangled Banner”; the lyrics say the flag was still standing after the war the next day. This tells me that the flag is strong and still flying freely.

In order for us to have our freedom, I often think of all the people that fought to get and keep our freedoms.

When I look at the flag, I see a battlefield with a whole bunch of soldiers on it, fighting for our freedom. This is what has made up our flag today, 50 free states.

The flag reminds me of how proud families and soldiers are and how happy they are to be back together again and be safe when their tour of duty is over.

I believe that all of the people who survived the war should be honored. A big dinner and celebration for them and their families should be held.

Families of members of the Armed Forces should be very proud to have such brave relatives that are not afraid to fight for our freedom.


Third place

Courtney Merrill

When I see the flag, I feel a love deep down in my heart. I feel pride for my country. I feel courage to do the things I want to do.

I feel love deep down in my heart when I look at our country’s flag. I feel love for my country because I know people have died to keep it free.

I feel pride when I look at our flag because I know our country can do almost anything if we set our minds to it and have faith in God.

I feel courage to do the things that I want to do when I look at our flag. I know that I have the freedoms to do the things that I want to do, and no one can tell me differently.

I have strong feelings towards our flag; feelings of love, pride, and courage. Our country is strong with feelings of love, pride and courage.

With all of my heart, I say, “God Bless America.”

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