Voice of Democracy

The top three entries of the Voice of Democracy contest, hosted by the Waterloo and Marshall Krause-Langer VFW Post were recognized at Monday night’s meeting. The contest is open to high school students, who are required to give a 3-5 minute speech on a selected theme. Pictured from left are post commander Sherri Smith, Chase Zimmerman — third place, Gabriella Campos — second place, Trinity Flint- first place, and contest co-chair Scott Relitz.

Our 35th President, John F. Kennedy once said, “The great revolution in the history of man, past, present and future, is the revolution of those determined to be free.” When I hear revolution, I think of the significant war for freedom in our history, the American Revolutionary War. The war between Great Britain and the brave people of the thirteen colonies was an eight-year battle for the democracy we have today, for taxation without representation, for freedom of speech and religion, for freedom from tyranny and oppression, and for freedom from monarchy. The flag billowing in the wind behind the courageous citizens of the colonies paved the way for our great nation, the United States of America.

Our country is built off the ideals of democracy forming from our Constitution and Bill of Rights, written by the most ingenious minds in the history of America. These ideas created by James Madison and Alexander Hamilton were the foundation of America in the late 1700s, and have stood against the test of time to remain America’s foundation today.

The improvement of ideas in America is what makes this admirable nation the one we see today. There was a great deal of inequality in the past, but we have fought for the rights of all people. Women have the right to vote, from the help of Susan B. Anthony and the women’s suffrage movement, African Americans are no longer enslaved, with a huge thank you to Abraham Lincoln and all who fought with the Union during the Civil War, and we celebrate the heritage of numerous Native American cultures, seeking amends with this remarkable population. The adversities of the United States has endured endlessly to earn our equality have been worth it in the end.

America, from many hardships, is a diverse county with endless opportunities in education. In the past, if your father worked in construction, you would, too. Or if you were born into a poor family, you would be poor for the rest of your life. But with the idea of the American Dream, everyone has an equal chance to exceed in life, no matter what their circumstance is. When I was younger, my parents and teachers would always ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I was one of the cliché kids who wanted to be an astronaut or a doctor when I grew up. However, in modern America, I can make these dreams come true. This country allows me, an average small-town girl in a big world, to reach for the stars and achieve my goals, no matter what they may be.

In the wise words of one of my idols, Eleanor Roosevelt, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” In America, you create your own destiny. But one cannot forget what made these opportunities possible. The wars that brought pain and suffering to families across America – but above all, the bravery of the American citizens who sacrificed their lives for freedom, for democracy, for the Constitution, and for our flag, which billows in the wind behind us in the nation that we can call great.

Flint won first place in the local VFW’s Voice of Democracy speech contest.

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