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Letters: Winners named in Elks essay contest

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Editor's note: The Worthington Elks Lodge has announced the winners in its essay contest for seventh- and eighth-graders. Entrants were asked to write about "What the National Anthem Means to Me." The following are the three winners (no place awards given):

'The National Anthem means to me you will always be free'

Hats taken off, hand on your heart and a red, white and blue flag are some of the things you might think of when you hear the National Anthem. The National Anthem means to me patriotism, and you'll always be free. When I hear the National Anthem, I have pride in my country.

The National Anthem means to me, patriotism. Showing patriotism is more than just putting your hand on your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance. Showing patriotism is never giving up, having hope, and showing unity. Everyone in this country believes in their own thing, but everyone agrees about freedom.

The National Anthem means to me that you will always be free. Freedom is the power to decide action. It doesn't matter what ancestry, religion or race you are. You can say, write, read, think and feel how you want to in America. It is very comforting and important to me and many others that we can do what we think is best for us.

Patriotism and you'll always be free are what the National Anthem mean to me. In America it doesn't matter who you are, if you're intelligent, or if you're wealthy. You and everyone around you decides what they will do today, tomorrow and forever.

Megan Lynn De Smith

Walnut Grove

'Star Spangled Banner' brings memories of veterans

Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner in the middle of battles during the Civil War. There have been many wars and conflicts since it was written, including World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the war in Afghanistan. It continues to unite us and remind us of freedom.

When I hear the Star Spangled Banner, I think of the veterans that had served at the defense of Fort McHenry. I also think about the veterans who have served or are presently serving.

My grandpa, David Schiller, proudly served during the Vietnam War. He has taught all of his grandchildren to listen carefully to the words and to think about the many soldiers who lost their lives trying to protect the USA.

We can walk to school without fear; we can go to different churches that we want. We can speak freely and can vote. We have these rights and more because of the men and women that served our country.

Our country will always need strong soldiers to keep our nation free. As Elmer Davis said, "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." So the next time you hear the Star Spangled Banner, join in and sing. Remember, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Dustin Redman

Comfrey

National Anthem is about patriotism and more

The National Anthem is about patriotism, freedom, suffering and war, and the U.S.A.

Patriotism is a word meaning the act of devoted love and support for our country. We raise our hands to our hearts, or take our caps off when we sing that oh-so- sweet anthem. That is patriotism to me. We support our country through the good and bad. That song is always there to remind us of how wonderful our country is.

Freedom's what we have in this country. We have freedom of speech and religion, and freedom to do what we please. The National Anthem reminds us of how those brave soldiers fought for our freedom, and how we celebrate it on the Fourth of July every year. That is freedom to me.

Suffering and war -- "...thro' the perilous fight..." "And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air..." This was our strong, brave soldiers fighting for our freedom. This was when the National Anthem was first written. It was a time of war. Francis Scott Key, not knowing if he was going to live to see the next day. These men gave everything they had to defend their country.

The United States of America -- land of the free and home of the brave. Our great nation. Independence, equality, bravery. These are the qualities the anthem portrays in so many ways.

When asked what the National Anthem means to me, I will tell you; Patriotism, Freedom, Suffering and the U.S.A. This will forever and always be my answer.

Josephine Nunez

Lakefield

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