Darling selected as District winner of Patriot’s Pen essay contest ...

Lansing Middle School eighth grade student Alyssa Darling was selected by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) 9th Iowa District as the winner of the VFW Patriot’s Pen essay contest. She is the daughter of Mark and Kris Darling of Lansing and was sponsored by Lansing VFW Post 5981. Pictured above, left to right, in the submitted photo is VFW 9th District Chairman of Patriot’s Pen Bernie Meiers, Don Peters of Lansing VFW Post 5981, Alyssa Darling and VFW 9th District Commander Virgil Thorstenson. Darling’s award-winning essay advanced on to the State level of competition. Her essay topic was “Why I Honor the American Flag,” and it is published below in its entirety:

Why I Honor the American Flag
by Alyssa Darling, 8th grade student at Lansing Middle School

The flag symbolizes many different things to many different people. Everyone’s perspective of the flag is different. You should know what the flag symbolizes, why you should respect it, and how you can respect it. Our flag is amazing, and you can’t let it go unrecognized.

The flag symbolizes many things like freedom, justice, and independence. When others see the flag, they think of sacrifice and hardship, because people sacrificed their lives for us. The flag will always be our symbol, standing tall representing all fifty states, and keeping our nation strong and free.

Everyone that lives in this country should respect the flag and also the people who fought for it. They risked their lives for the freedom that our flag represents. Without those service men and women, we might not have all of the opportunities we have today. We are very lucky to live how we do. We can vote, we have public education, freedom of speech, and may other valuable rights that other countries don’t have. We should be proud and thankful to call this place home where a flag can be raised with pride.

We live in an amazing country with many advantages other countries don’t have. We should be thankful for the people that made this land our country. We should respect our veterans because they risked, as well as some lost, their lives to protect our flag and to protect us. We can respect others too so we can make our country even better. It doesn’t take much to show respect. It’s the little things that make a difference like taking your hat off and being quiet during the National Anthem, or holding the door for another person, or just being kind. We can honor the flag by doing any of this because it shows how amazing our country is. We should never take advantage of the freedom and rights we have in our country.

We should always honor the flag because of what it represents. There are many ways we can honor the flag, and many reasons as to why we should. We live in an amazing country because of so many incredibly brave people that deserve to not go unrecognized. Always be respectful because we are very fortunate to be living the way we are, and always honor the flag because of its importance to our country.

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