PCA 8th Graders Sweep Essay Contest

Congratulations to Sam Stevens for placing first in the Patriots Pen essay contest for the VFW’s Dover Post #12060! Sam will proceed to the district level in Somersworth on January 3 and, if successful, will proceed to the State level of the competition in February.

Each year, more than 125,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen Youth Essay Contest nationwide. This year’s theme was “What Freedom Means to Me.”

Congratulations to Kevin Baker for placing second and the Rebecca Jones for placing third in the contest. Both received award certificates, and Kevin will be continuing to the district level with Sam Stevens on January 3. To read more about this annual contest, please visit the VFW’s website.

“The Source and Constraints of True Freedom” by Sam Stevens

“America will never be destroyed by the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves,” so said the great American leader, Abraham Lincoln. America’s greatest threat is that we will misunderstand the true meaning of liberty.

America is the land of freedom; it is even quoted multiple times in our national anthem: “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!” Many brave souls gave their lives to defend that freedom. For what kind of freedom did these soldiers die? Was it so that we may do whatever we would like? While we do have the freedom to make our own decisions, we must be ready to bear the consequences of those choices, good or bad. True freedom requires self-restraint, acting responsibly, and setting boundaries for ourselves. For example, in America I have the freedom and opportunity to create a business and make money from it, but I do not have the right to just take from others.

Our freedoms are given to us by God, not the government. The Declaration of Independence states, “… all men … are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our founding fathers recognized that liberty is a right given to all by God. For example, the government cannot make us worship in any way. It is my decision who to follow. The Constitution’s Bill of Rights specifically protects these freedoms. Among these are the freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; the right to bear arms, protection from cruel and unjust punishment, and more.

All in America share freedom equally, and that is good . Our past presidents and military worked hard to gain and maintain our liberty. We can walk anywhere within our borders knowing we, our families and our freedoms are safe. Let us all be thankful for God’s gift of freedom in our land.