Editor’s Note — This is the transcript from Hillsboro High School junior Anne Throckmorton’s essay that Friday night won first place in the VFW’s Voice of Democracy competition. It was submitted courtesy of Shirley Wilkin, Hillsboro VFW Post 9094 Auxiliary chair.
Each and every day, I see the greatness of American displayed all around me. She has been made great by her people and her freedoms. As I awaken each morning, I get the pleasure of watching the sun rise. Slowly, with the coming of the sun, night fades away. Each ray of sunlight a beam of pride, gently kissing the tops of the trees and the American flags that are displayed faithfully at the crown of their poles. They guard each and every building that they are in front of, the town courthouse, the school and our homes. They silently show our respect as they are draped over tombstones and monuments. America is great, for no matter where you go, there is always a reminder of the lives that have been sacrificed for you and the opportunity that your freedoms have given you.
As I start my day by driving to school on beautifully paved streets, I get to watch little children scurrying to catch the bus that has been provided for them. I see golden corn fields as they are reaching towards the sun, preparing for harvest. I watch as men and women head to work. I see a preacher driving to church, a single mother going to college, a business man headed to the bank. All of these people, living many different lives. Watching their lives unfold in a way that they have chosen is part of the greatness of America. Knowing that I do not have to take a test to determine my future job is part of America’s beauty and greatness. Walking into a school building and being able to learn an instrument, read speeches from great leaders of the past, and study how to be a leader for the future all reflects the greatness and beauty of America.
America is beautiful, her long-standing legacy of freedom is wrapped around us like a comforting blanket. Her love guarding us each day, and her protection over us installed in her strong government through checks and balances. She is beautiful, but she cannot be asked to stand alone. America is great because her people can stand up and take the responsibility of defending her. Big or little, short or tall, each American is seen as an equal, one who can serve and protect, one who has potential. America is great because her people are willing to defend her.
America feeds the world, her rich soil producing food for many that share our earth. America embraces nature, allowing her citizens to see the land that she is made of. The Grand Canyon, Devil’s Tower, the Smoky Mountains. American is home to so many diverse sights, sounds and people. America is great because she is different.
American is great because of her strong history. She stood up to win her freedom and to call herself a country. She fought against slavery and many other social injustices. America is great because she does what she knows is right. America is supported by great people, her politicians, her teachers, her soldiers, and her greatness has evolved throughout the many generations of her existence. America is great because of her youth for she has potential, she has a future, and through dedication and service, she will stay free!