American Legion announces local winners of essay contest

ROCHELLE — The American Legion Post 403 announced Noah Knight and Kelsey Thompson as winners of the 2019 essay contest.

By Noah Knight

Grade 12 Rochelle Township High School for

American Legion Post 403 Essay Contest

What are my responsibilities as a U.S. Citizen?

“Speak softly and carry a big stick, you will go far." -- Teddy Roosevelt.

President Theodore Roosevelt is a very respected man to this day. I believe that we should be following his legacy as a nation. When I think of his legacy, I think of not being the one to instigate fights or wars but being the one to finish the fight with a great deal of honor.

My responsibilities as an American may be different than some, but also may have the same idea. I believe I should and will stand for what our constitution says and help protect others who are weak, believing they have a voice.

When I decided a few years ago that I will go into the Marine Corps, I sat down and asked myself, ‘why I am choosing the U.S military?’.  I chose it because I dislike seeing all the hatred on the television. I believe I can find unity in this divided nation by fighting for everyone’s God-given rights. Even if I only make one person believe they have a voice and matter, I know that this kind of change will spread.

I liked President Roosevelt’s quote because this is how I believe our nation should be set upon. We should not try to instigate violence, but be there for weeping nations. We should protect our land that has been passed down from generation to generation and not bring hate and bigotry toward our great nation. I feel I have a responsibility to give back and continue to protect our land for those who protected it before us.

Even though I may not be or ever be ready for this, I will sacrifice my life for someone else’s knowing that I had fought for their freedom. My responsibilities for this great nation is to find a way to bring unity in harsh times like now, and defend our God given Freedoms.

When I visited the United States Naval Academy last summer we had speaker from the Travis Mason Foundation come in. What got me the most and gave me chills was when she said, “If not me, then who?” Those five words describe what God has sent me to do. This means I will step up and do whatever it takes to defend the United States of America.

By: Kelsey Thompson

Grade 12 Rochelle Township High School for

American Legion Post 403 Essay Contest

While growing up in the small town of Rochelle, Illinois, I witnessed first-hand how important unity is. I have been closely connected with my neighborhood, community, and schools ever since I was little. I grew up on Pickwick Drive with my older brother and many friends similar of age. Every Fourth of July, my family and neighbors would participate in our town’s parade as the “Pickwick Patriots.” The parade not only brought our neighborhood together, but it also brought the community together. As a student, I have played an active role in my school by helping bring all of the students together. In high school I joined a service club called the Interact Club, and my Junior year I became the president. Our club works closely with the Rotary club, which brings the students and adults in our community together. This year our goal is to start a program called “Earlyact” for the middle school levels. We hope that the new club will help unite all community members from pre-teens to adults. Unity has proven to be important in my small neighborhood, school, and community. With unity comes peace, safety, and a brighter future. Unity is needed to keep America as the amazing nation that it is. I believe my responsibility as a U.S. Citizen is to help promote unity.

I believe that we have lost the sense of unity as Americans. Social media has become a dominant source of communication and a distraction to unity in our country. With new sources of social media, there are more ways to communicate with large groups. Social media sites have given Americans an easy way to voice their opinions as well as others’ beliefs. People have used social media to hide behind their computers or phone screens to say things that they would never say when face-to-face with another person. One insulting post can be shared to millions of people with a few clicks of a button which can start a snowball effect of more insulting posts and comments. These social media based fights can divide the American people.

The new challenge for bringing unity to America in the future is figuring out how to use social media properly. Instead of using social media to ruin the reputation of others, social media should be used to bring our wonderful nation together. Every negative comment posted on social media can be seen by millions, and every positive comment can be seen by just as many. Social media gives future generations the opportunity to connect with others from their neighborhood, school, and community as well as people from across the country. If social media is used properly, the whole nation can be united with a few clicks of a button. It is our responsibility to teach the future generations of America how to use social media in positive ways so that America can be fully united. With  positive posts and a few clicks of a button, the American people could be united, which would bring peace, safety, and a brighter future.

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