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The 2020-2021 Elks Americanism Essay contest theme was “How can Patriotism be Demonstrated?” In Division I, 5th/6th grade, Gus Gardner won first place in the Goodland, Kan., Lodge #1528 Local Contest. Gus’s essay went on to win first place in the West District contest and to win first place on the Kansas State level. After winning the state essay contest, Gus’s essay was sent to the national contest representing Kansas.
Gus is currently a seventh grader at Saint Francis Community Schools in Saint Francis, Kansas. He is the son of Justin and Danielle Gardner, and the grandson of Charlie and Donna Chinn of Shelbyville and Chet and Colleen Gardner of Saint Francis, Kansas.
Below is the essay he wrote:
“How can Patriotism be Demonstrated?”
Patriotism is defined as, “The quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country.” A list of things I personally believe to be patriotic are as follows: activism, being charitable to your fellow citizen, and exercising your right to vote. These things embody the core foundation and spirit of America.
Activism is patriotic because you are spreading awareness about a new or different view-point. These viewpoints may not be known by everyone, which makes it that much more im-portant to share. Activism can be something as simple as an open public discussion.
Another patriotic act is being charitable to your fellow citizens because it helps them to succeed, which in turn helps your country to succeed. Being charitable and giving back to your community is the soul of the American spirit. It is the heart of Americanism.
Finally, voting is the most patriotic thing you can do because you are deciding the future of your country. Educating yourself about your representatives and about legislation is not only a good idea, but your responsibility as an American citizen. Voting grants you the right to be heard at the local, state and federal levels. The right to vote is one of the basic tenants of our great republic and it ensures that every citizen’s voice is heard.
In conclusion, patriotism is defined as vigorous support one’s country. I feel that these three subjects best embody that vigorous support for America. The spirit of patriotism is respectable as an emotion, but it’s much more important to act on this emotion using three expressions. Activism is the exchange of ideas. Being charitable helps all countrymen to succeed. Voting se-cures the future of these ideas and successes. Patriotism is best when expressed.