Color guard

A member of the color guard places the flag for the ceremony.

LAUGHLIN — Every year students in the Laughlin schools participate in the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 243's Patriot's Pen Youth Essay Competition and this year's winners are seventh-grader Jayson Wymbs and eighth-grader Rami Yousef.

"It is a program sponsored by the National Veterans of Foreign Wars out of Kansas City, MO., and is used by VFW Posts across the nation," said Roger Reimer, of Laughlin VFW Post 243. "All entries begin at the Post level and is open to seventh- and eighth-graders."

Entries must be 300 to 400 words in length and the them is chosen each year by the VFW National Commander. This year's theme is "Why I honor the American flag."



Americans have stood for the U.S. flag since June of 1777 when the flag resolution was passed. The flag was created by Betsy Ross in June of 1776. In World War I, 40 million people were injured, 20 million of those people died. In World War II, 50 million people died if not more.

Here are five reasons why I choose to honor the American flag. One of those reasons is that I honor the American flag because, not to please ourselves but to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. The next reason is that I stand for the flag not to focus on what divides us but on what unites us, which is being proud to be an American. The third reasons is that we stand for the flag not to pledge allegiance to a president, but to honor the reality that we have an elected president and not a lifetime king. Another reason is that I stand for the flag not because of past or present pain caused by injustice, but to salute the principle of justice. The last reason is that I stand for the flag not for our generation but for the next generation.

In Pearl Harbor, 2,335 people were killed including 2,008 Navy personnel, 109 Marines and 218 Army soldiers. My great great grandpa John Robert Pearcy VI was in the Korean War, World War II and (at) Pearl Harbor. He was also a prisoner of war. My grandpa Billy Ray Cooper was a Navy (sailor) on the U.S.S. John F. Kennedy during the Vietnam War. My aunt, Rogena Miller, was an Army woman. She was also top of her class as a tank gunner. Also my great uncle Stanley Pearcy fought in the army.

I was a Boy Scout for over two years and we learned how to respect our flag. We learned how to fold the American flag properly. We also posted at many ceremonies as well as learned history of our U.S. flag. We also learned how to not touch the flag to the floor.

In our family we choose to honor the American flag every day of our lives to show respect to many before us and after us that give us the freedom to choose.



Throughout the many years of America, many brave men and women have given their lives and their careers to serve and defend our country. For all of their work, hardship , we can sleep safely at night without worrying about external threat. To them I say thank you and I appreciate what you do for our country. When the question "Why I honor the American flag" is asked my response is due to the harship, struggles, pain, happiness and history of our great country, and all that we have gone through. Thanks to all of these things, we live in a country where we are free and our American flag symbolizes that freedom.

Many people serve in careers that are taken for granted. These sacrifices and hardships are what keep us safe except from Donald Trump's Twitter tweet trouble. No I jest; the American flag also represents our president and our government. I honor the flag because it represents much more. It reflects the struggles, stress, pain and so much more than our veterans go through. So, it is fitting that we today honor all our American veterans.

Another great value that makes America so great is its people who have so much pride and patriotism. The beauty of the United States is that we stand for what we believe. Consider the great odds when we declared our independence from Britain and won our freedom. We are known for our freedom and the American flag is a symbol of our free spirit.

The American flag is honored because of the human rights we fight for, both in our country and abroad. We fight for the right to practice or not to practice religion, equality of race or gender, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Sometimes things get tough, but our flag is honored for its endurance even in time of the most difficult trouble. Where else in the world are such rights guaranteed?

Simply put, we are proud of the United States and we honor our great flag because it is America. We are thankful to our veterans who have maintained our freedom, history and so much for all to be proud. To sum it all up "God bless the U.S.A."

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