Terra Rubra Lions Club District 22W 2010 Patriotic Essay Contest

Winner, Middle School Category

How can I, as a Young Teenager,
Help in the Preservation of Our American Heritage? by Emma K., Southampton Middle School

As a young teenager I can help in the preservation of American heritage in numerous ways. I have already contributed to preserving our American heritage by participating in contests which promote loyalty to the U.S. and respect for our flag. These contests are a reminder of all that Americans have sacrificed to get to where our country is today. In addition, I am contributing to the preservation American Civil War Battlefields. Each year at my school, as a service learning project, we try to save the battlefields. We raise money and send letters to government officials and family to raise awareness so that others will join in. However, with all that I have done in preserving American heritage, there are still a number of things I can do. But first, I would like to explain how wars, battles, and battlefields relate to preserving American heritage.

In all the wars and battles that Americans have fought, they have risked their lives serving our country. The courage, bravery, and love for our country demonstrated by those Americans is something I may never be able to comprehend. We need to preserve the memory of the people that fought and on top of that, we need to save the battlefields. I believe that every time we destroy a battlefield, we destroy a part of history, and in a way, part of ourselves. Once we build developments on these historic sites, we begin to forget about the battles and the heroes that fought in them. My social studies teacher often quotes George Santayana, who once said, “Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.” It is surprising that some of the very descendants of those who fought don’t honor our troops and threaten the battlefields they fought on. Soldiers living and dead have protected our country and liberties. To preserve our heritage, we need to commemorate and support those who preserve our rights by protecting our country.

In the future, I will be more active in preserving our American heritage. I’ll continue to participate in events, such as a contest I took part in recently for the VFW, and I will continue to preserve battlefields. I can start to write letters and cards to the veterans at the VFW and Veterans Hospitals, thanking them for serving our country in the past. Their deeds are still just as remarkable and I believe we need to continue recognizing them. I can send care packages to soldiers currently serving in the military, to express my gratitude. The care packages make an enormous difference. In fact, my whole school brought in items to send before the holidays. My mother and I went shopping for items to donate. I now realize that even teenagers like me can make a huge difference, not only in preserving American Heritage, but in making the world a better place. I can do countless things to preserve American Heritage, and I plan on starting soon.

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