Celebrating America

Frank E. Bauers American Legion Essay Winners


December 24, 2020

-Submitted photo

The Frank E. Bauers American Legion Post No. 42 honored these authors of winning "What Makes America Great" essays in November. From left, Rilee Steinhoff, Third Grade; Ashlynn Thornhill, Fifth Grade; Kinsey Fuller, Seventh Grade; Nick Vance, Fourth Grade; Lillian Patterson, Twelfth Grade; Junior Magill-Katsel, Ninth Grade; Madison Ortuno, Sixth Grade; Rebecca Milsten, Tenth Grade; and Joshua Reser, Eighth Grade. Not pictured, Wyatt Cranmer, Kindergarten; Lyrik Cameron, First Grade; and Madison Dittman, Eleventh Grade. There was no entry from Second Grade.

Lyrik Cameron

First Grade

America is great because we have freedom. Our flag stands for freedom.

Second Grade-No Entries

Rilee Steinhoff

Third Grade

What Makes America Great

I think America is a great place to live. One reason is because of our soldiers who fight for our freedom. My second reason is because we have free school. In other countrys you have to pay to go to school. My third reason is we have the right to defend ourselves. My forth reason is we can vote for the president and our mayor. My fifth reason is we can live with our families. My sixth reason is we live in peace. My seventh reason is we can work anywhere. That is why I think America is great.

Nick Vance

Fourth Grade

What makes America great?

To be an American is about embracing the culture and way of life. Americans can enjoy freedom of speech and are part of a diverse and rich culture. An American is someone who embraces freedom and liberty.

I think America is the best country in the world. We have freedom, equality, and justice. To live in America is a great privilege.

If you think about it hard, you will realize you are some of the luckiest people in the world to be living in such a great country that lets you have equal rights and freedom. In conclusion this is what makes America great.

Ashlynn Thornhill

Fifth Grade

What I think makes America great is that segregation is over, there is no more slavery and the military service.

To begin this essay segregation is over thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. King did speeches and marches, now segregation is over! One of his most famous speeches is “I have a Dream”.

In addition to that, there is no more slavery! Yes, there is human trafficking, but other than that no more slavery. Thank you to the 16the president, Abraham Lincoln, who stopped it.

Last but definitely not least, our military service! Some of the things our military service has the Navy Costguard, Army Air Force and the Armed Force. My grandpa was in the Navy and my uncle was in the military. Our Navy maintains, trains and equips combat-ready naval forces worthy of winning a war. Here’s another one, The Air Force defends for the United States and flies and wins in air.

I think what makes America great is that segregation and slavery is over and the military service does a great job. I could name so many more things that makes America great.

What Makes America Great

By Madison Ortuno

Sixth Grade

America is great for many reasons. In this essay I will be sharing my thoughts on what makes America great.

My first reason that I think America is great is our freedom. We have freedom of religion. In America we have the freedom to believe whatever we want. In some countries if you believe in something the government or society does not you have a high chance of being punished. Another one of our freedoms is freedom of speech If we don’t agree with something say that the government has done or said we can openly say it without fear of any one telling or getting you in trouble. In America there are more freedoms and we should be grateful for all of them and our it helps our country to be the best it can be.

In America we also have good food. Think if your family was at home getting ready for dinner in most cases you have your own plate and a good amount of food, we sometimes overlook how lucky we are with the food and water that America. Now think about if your family was sitting down to eat and there were maybe two plates one for you and your brothers and sisters to share and one for your parents I know at least in my family that would not go over well.

This is what it is like in some other countries. We in America have a great variety of foods there is Mexican food, Italian food, Chinese food, Japanese food, American food, and Swedish food, there is much more too. In America we should be thankful for food and that for the most part we have food.

In America we have laws. These laws keep our country safe and organized, we are very lucky that these laws are easy to follow and are not crazy and hurt our freedom. Another reason that America is a great place to live is that we have a strong military. We in America are so lucky that we have a strong military to keep us safe, our military has so many people in it that are willing to risk it for themselves for us. 

We in America have so much that makes our country great. There are so many more reasons that America is great. What do you think makes America great.

What makes America great

By Kinsey Fuller

Seventh Grade

What makes America great. Here are some of the many things that make America great. The first is that citizens can be free to choose how they live their lives. The second, is that Americans have certain rights that are guaranteed for them, and lastly, America protects the citizens and their rights.

In America, citizens can be free to choose how they live their lives. Being free has many advantages like; citizens can be able to live happily the way that they want to. Citizens are also free to have their own beliefs openly and not have to be completely controlled by someone else. The last advantage of being free is to have the rights to make life a lot easier and more worth working hard for.

The next thing that makes up why America is great is that all Americans have certain rights in this country. For one, citizens have the right to freedom of speech, which means that they can express their feelings and emotions through their voice, that was put there for a reason. People should not be limited to what they say. Citizens are also allowed to choose their friends, partner, and even enemies. People are also not forced to have relationships with people that they do not want to be with. Citizens of America also have the right to free education until after highschool. I believe that education is one of the most important things in life, and being able to have that for free is truly great.

Something else that helps define how America is great is that America tries to protect the citizens no matter what. With that, America has laws that further limit the idea of taking away the rights for citizens, and protect them from harm. America also does not let the government have too much power over the states, so that the rights for people remain protected and everyone can live without the fear of being controlled. With protection from any wrongdoing, Americans are free to feel more safe and happy.

America is so unique in many ways, and America is great. What makes America great.

Joshua Reser

Eighth Grade

Why is America so great? What makes our country stand out among other countries as great? This question can be answered in many ways because this question means different things to different people. But to me, I believe America is so great simply because of our freedoms. The freedom to express our ideas, the freedom to choose our leaders and the freedom to a fair trial and self-defense in a legal environment. 

As I said, the most prominent principal in our country is our freedoms.

Our freedoms enable us as citizens to spread information and ideas without fear of prosecution. The government is not allowed to limit our free speech either, meaning if we disagree with the government, we are allowed to speak out and hold our elective officials accountable. And our ability to spread information mean that we can easily work together and advance in fields like science, math, engineering and technology.

As a country, we are allowed to elect officials to run our country. When we elect leaders for our country, we have an idea of his or her goals and objectives are, and we are able to elect based on which candidate best suits our personal ideals. Many countries don’t have this and their leaders are put in by rigged elections or family monarchies. And if we all agree that a leader we had elected is bad, we can vote them out of office. So essentially as citizens we hold the power.

In America, Citizens are allowed to defend themselves in a fair court trial. Our court system allows us to support our case against someone else if we believe we are innocent of whatever we are being convicted of. Meaning you can’t be thrown in jail for something you didn’t actually do. You can also take legal action against corporations, people, or the government if you feel like they have done you wrong and you have a valid case. Our court can also guarantee that you will be punished to a degree the same as the crime you committed, as set by the 8th amendment in our constitution.

In conclusion, America is great for many reasons, and to me it’s great because of our freedom, rights and fairness. America is great for many more reasons than just the ones I listed, and many people have different reasons, but mine are why I believe America is great.

What Makes America Great

Junior Magill-Katsel

Ninth Grade

The red, white and blue. These three colors make up the flag of the United States of America. The American flag is very sacred to the U.S. The red on the flag symbolizes hardiness and valor, the white purity and innocence, and blue shows vigilance, perseverance and justice. These three colors make up the American flag. This is only one of the many things that make America the greatest country in the world, I think. 

America? When people think of the U.S., they think freedom. I know some people are thinking about what freedom is. We all have freedom, we are able to go to the store, eat what we want, love who we want to love. All of this is freedom. I think that the U.S. is very special because not every country lets you do what you want to do. 

The United States is made up of fifty states and there is a place for everyone to live. There are so many different climates in the U.S. There are very cold and snowy states like Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana; moderate climate states like Nebraska, Arkansas; there are the hot and dry climates Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and many others. There are mountains, valleys, rivers, lakes, plants and animals to enjoy in the United States that you may never see anywhere else in the world

 Red, white and blue…man, those three colors are our pride, our life. We fight to protect that flag because the flag means freedom and happiness for everyone. 

I had family members lose their lives to make our lives just a little better. If that is not something to be proud of, then I don’t know what is. Just think about that for a second: there are people fighting, unfortunately, to the death for the rest of us to have what we want and do all the things you want to do. We have freedom to be what we want to be as we grow.

I know that when I graduate school I will have help working through whatever comes my way because there are always people willing to help. I think that the United States of America is the greatest country in the world. There is so much more that I can say about the United States of America but here are a couple things that I think are really important. So I hope you feel the same way I do about the United States of America.

Rebecca Millsten

Tenth Grade

Why is America “Great”?

America is often said to be a great country to live in, a great country to visit, a great country to immigrate to, and in general, a great country. Because of these remarks common to hear in America, we as American citizens have almost forgotten what we mean when we say America is great. With this said, why is America great, and what does great even mean in this context?

America is great because of the freedom our country offers As U.S. citizens, we often forget how precious these freedoms are, taking them for granted while many other countries strive for this basic right we enjoy without a single thought. We have freedom to believe in who or what we choose to believe, or not to believe, in. We also have the right to speak freely and without restraint. A America is also great because of our rich diversity. Individuals of other countries come to live in America every day. They add influences from many different countries and cultures, bringing a better representation of the world to America. Such diversity also makes America an inviting place to immigrants who may feel more accepted due to not being the only ones from their country and by receiving help from others on transitioning into America‘s culture.

Another attribute which makes America great is equality. As a country, America endeavors to treat every man, woman, and child with respect, dignity, and equality regardless of gender, beliefs, age, race, and much more. However, this momentous reform to society is no small task. Many people such as Martin Luther King Junior and Susan B. Anthony have fought for not only their equality, but for millions of others to receive this same basic human right.

America has been welded by such brave and strong people into what it is today: a country of equality. Our country continues to struggle with such issues, but nonetheless, we, as a majority, are tirelessly fighting for this right.

While freedom, diversity, and equality are but three traits of many proving America’s greatness, they are the foundation of this country. America is a land of incredible freedom with equality for all brought on by our diversity. We may have flaws and make wrong decisions, but our ideals as a country have remained the same. So what do you say? In your opinion, what makes America great?

Madison Dittman

Eleventh Grade

America the Great

Home of the Brave, Land of the Free.

Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, the Bald Eagle.

When you think of our beautiful country, the United States of America, one or more of these phenomena may come to mind. Our country is great because as one united nation, we possess many great qualities and hold up to higher ideals. Personally, my favorite things about this country are the beautiful land we have, freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, and the extensive amount of opportunity offered for jobs, activities, sports, business and many other things. 

In the United States, we have 61 national parks, covering about 52.2 million acres of American soil total. National Parks are often symbolized as having unique geographical features, such as crystal-clear waters, amazing geysers and hot springs, extremely old and well-grown trees, or other astonishing natural features. The most visited national park in our country is The Great Smokey Mountains. Streams, waterfalls, and rivers appear along hiking trails, which is a very common tourist activity for this particular location. At Yellowstone National Park, you’ll see geysers, hot springs, beautiful blue-green waterfalls, and even various wildlife such as buffalo or bears. National Parks are not the only types of land that pose a great view to the human eye, almost all of the rural areas in America as well can be described as beautiful in one way or another.

America is often times described as being “The Land of the Free.” We hold freedom of religion, freedom of press, freedom of speech, as well as the right to bear arms close to our hearts. In many other countries, you would have to live without many or all of these privileges. I believe it is important to have freedom of speech and freedom of the press so that those who want to be heard or express their personal opinions can do so, and receive helpful feedback or participate in debate which could be a great opportunity for a learning experience. Freedom of religion is very crucial as well. Because Many citizens of our country may look up to and live through a higher power, which can be beneficial to an individual if they do believe in a religion of their choice. 

The right to bear arms can mean different things to different types of people. Some may think weapons are dangerous, and lead to no good things, but personally I think just the opposite. Without the ratification of the Second Amendment, which states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” I would have missed out on a great deal of fun and benefit for not only my personal enjoyment, but also the greater good of my family. Guns can be used responsibly and for fun at the same time. Every year, I hunt deer and elk with my step dad, which not only provides my family with food throughout the year, but also is a great deal of fun, hiking and experiencing the anticipation of the hunt itself. Our own country’s military is also well-protected with firearms, and many people may shoot at range targets for fun. A firearm can also determine between life and death in some cases, such as a home invasion, robbery, or encounter with a vicious animal in the wild. 

Of course, there are many more principles to add as to why America, as a country, can be defined as great. The list could stretch from Maine to Hawaii, yet a few of the most important and admirable American ideals are the right to bear arms, personal freedoms of speech, religion, and many other things, extensive opportunity for entrepreneurship, and the vast majority of graceful land that our country wields as a whole. For these reasons, and many more, I am proud to be an American. 

What Makes America Great?

Lillian Patterson

12th Grade

The question, What makes America great, must be answered because so many people today are trying to tell us that America is not great or even good. These people are attempting to take away our freedom. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. Out of the many things that make America great I believe freedom is at the top of that list. America has been the country millions of people want to come to. Some come just for the freedom, but others come because America presents opportunities no other country in the world offers.

What does freedom mean? Freedom by definition is the right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. We can see the definition of freedom in the Bill of Rights. Mainly the first Amendment. We also see them throughout all of the constitution. America, unlike any other country in the world, has a government set up to protect our rights. Our government is a democratic republic which allows the people to change things they don’t like. The government is also set up with checks and balances to make sure one part of government doesn’t rise above another or have too much power. 

Other countries have tried to have a similar government to America’s such as; Canada, but they do not offer “freedom” the way the U.S. does. Instead of freedom of press other countries government’s such as; China and North Korea, own their press therefore strongly influencing the media and what their people see. We Americans value our right of free speech. There are other countries that claim to have free speech, but that’s not necessarily true. There have been countless countries that have shut down businesses, or ruined people’s lives, maybe even killing them just because the people would speak out against the government or even have or want a different religion than what the government thinks they should have.

Kindergarten student Wyatt Cranmer skillfully colored this "Happy Veterans Day" tribute.

The United States has been referred to as the “Land of Opportunity”since the 1930s. According to the 2016 Yearbook of Immigration Statistics, 1.18 million legal immigrants entered the U.S. in 2016. Out of 196 countries people decided to come to America. They come here seeking relief from political and religious persecution and freedom is the number one reason why they come. As I mentioned earlier, many people come to the U.S. wanting to partake in the freedom to be whatever they set their minds to, the freedoms that no other country in the world provides.

The U.S. has Capitalism that provides a better economic system, and gives you the freedom to manage your own business. There is no real limit on what you can be or the type of business you have, and you don’t have to worry about the government taking your businesses, school education, or anything else away from you just because they feel like it. 

America is the greatest country the world has ever seen, inspiring every nation. In America we have the freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to bear arms, and the right to privacy. That’s what makes America great.


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