Elks' essays educate on patriotism

Three fifth graders at Minden Elementary School were given cash awards for their renditions of what they feel when they look up at the American flag.

The Minden-Douglas Elks Lodge No. 2670 gave $75 to Shavonne Barr for her first-place entry, $50 to Jennie Stokes who got second place and $25 to Alexandria Gagne for third place.

"We have a different theme every year," said Elks youth activities chairman John Wise. "This year's theme was 'What do you feel when you look at the American flag?' Last year we asked "What does the American flag mean to you?' It's always patriotic, it always has to do with the American flag."

All Douglas County schools were given the opportunity for their fifth- through eighth-grade students to participate in the essay contest.

Every year the Elks have awarded the three best essays written by fifth and sixth graders, as well as the three best essays written by seventh and eighth graders. But this year, only Minden Elementary participated and none of the middle schools, so only the younger group received awards.

The three winners were handed cash, and were not given any instructions on what it was to be spent on, according to Wise, who said the goal of Elks lodges across the nation, which are all supposed to participate, is to educate children on what Americanism means.

"We just give it to them," said Wise. "They can do with it whatever they want.

"The reason we do this is so children can see what this country means to an American, regardless of race, creed or whatever. (The Elks) feel that history is being left behind - what our forefathers did to give us the freedom that we have.

"We believe children are our future, which they are."

First place:

"Flag Feelings"

by Shavonne Barr

When I look up at the American flag, I feel happy and sad.

I feel happy because it represents all of the 50 states. I think of my mom, because the colors on the flag are my mom's favorite colors. When I say the Pledge of Allegiance, I think of God because the blue in the sky, reminds me of heaven.

When I look at the flag, I think of the war and slavery. The slavery makes me sad because they had no freedom, and today we have so much.

The flag always has a good feeling, and a sad feeling. I love the American flag!

Second place:

"This Is What the Flag Means to Me"

by Jennie Stokes

When I look at the American flag I see blood left on the battlefield from the fighters that fought to give us freedom.

I see blood heres because when I look at red it reminds me of the wars and all the blood that was lost from the people that risked their lives.

White and blue are symbols of courage to me. Courage to me means to stand up for your rights and what you beileve in.

The stars on the flag make me happy because stars lead to heaven and most of the soldiers are in heaven, whitch is a better place than the battlefields.

This is what I see in the American flag every morning.

Third place:

"American Flag"

by Alexandria Gagne

When I look at the American flag I see pride in the people who helped the victims who were in Hurrican Katrina.

Some ways people helped the victims were by sending bookbags, pencils, notebooks, money and they even sent them food, water and toys.

Many people volunteered like doctors from other states flew in to help wounded. The policemen and firefighters arrived from other states to help out to. Thats what I see when I look up at the American flag.

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at jrafferty@recordcourier.com or 782-5121, ext. 210.


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