Conner Gates wins "Patriotic Pen" Essay Contest


Spanish Fork Junior High seventh grade student Conner Gates was the winner of this year's Patriotic Pen essay contest. The Patriotic Pen is an annual essay contest sponsored by the VFW. This year's theme was "The America I believe In." With Conner's permission, here is his winning essay:

“The America I Believe In”

America. The land of the free and the home of the brave. It is the place where people with different ideals and backgrounds should be able to live free from persecution and hardships. One where people should be free to express their opinions, and not be afraid to convey those beliefs. One where people should not be judged by the color of their skin, ethnic backgrounds, religion, or opinions, but by their actions and the reasoning behind said actions.

The America I believe in is a place where political representatives fulfill their obligations and responsibilities out of love for their country, not the need for power. One where country is put first, where the flag still stands for freedom, the lives of veterans, respect for our forefathers. One where the founding fathers can be proud of what we’ve done as a country, and how the country’s future is affected. One where veterans can and should be treated with the respect they so rightfully deserve. One where we never forget what they have done for us, and that we return the favor.

The America I believe in is a place where people aren’t afraid to lend a hand, or too haughty to help one in need. One where people work hard for what they have. One where we stand as a beacon to the world, one of power, unity, and freedom. One where grit, hard work, and determination can help someone up the corporate ladder, or out of a rough spot in their lives. One where a person can accomplish their dreams, no matter what the physical and mental cost.

The America I believe in is a place where everyone has the same rights, and want to do their part. One where the laws set are followed by everyone, and everyone respects the people enforcing them. One where people aren’t shot on the streets, where parents don’t have to work two, three jobs to support their families. One where people are willing to help out their country, where they have patriotism, and aren’t afraid to show it. One where people can handle not coming in first, and won’t be scared to fall down and fail. And finally, the America I believe in is a place in which one can say, with pride, “I love America.”