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McKENZIE (January 16) — Winners of VFW Post 4939’s annual Voice of Democracy speech contest were honored at the post Thursday.Earning first place was Anna Callahan. In second place was …
McKENZIE (January 16) — Winners of VFW Post 4939’s annual Voice of Democracy speech contest were honored at the post Thursday.
Earning first place was Anna Callahan. In second place was Olivia Henderson, and third went to Chase Webb. All three are juniors at McKenzie High School.
Callahan is the 17-year-old daughter of Kim and Randy Callahan. This was her first year to participate in the contest. She will next compete at the district level.
Callahan’s winning speech, titled “Why are we the number one nation in the world?” follows:
Why are we the number one nation in the world? Why do we have immigration problems, why do so many people want to live here? What makes America so great, so special? Could it be the prominent “American Dream” that everyone talks about; or is it our differences and acceptance? What about our patriotism? As a matter of fact, it’s all of these things that make America so great.
The “American Dream” is the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved. In simpler terms, anyone, regardless of where you come from or what class you’re born into, has an equal opportunity, the freedom to work their hardest to get anywhere they want to be. This idea is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” This is what drives us to work, fight, and strive for what we want and believe in. A quote by Martin Luther King Jr. says, “I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
This brings me to my next point, Martin Luther King Jr. fought alongside many to create the American Dream for African-Americans, and that change has made America even more of a melting pot. From ethnicity to gender to age to religion, we can all be accepted. This diversity is a trademark of the beauty in our country, because without this, America would not be what it is today: a society where all types of different people can come together and learn from one another. Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th president of the United States, once said, “This land flourished because it was fed from so many sources—because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and people.”
Our pride, our patriotism, is what brings us all together and makes us such a strong nation. Flags in every schoolroom, outside of buildings, as decals on cars, proving our pride in being an American and our respect for those who have sacrificed for this country. The red stripes symbolize valor and courage, our country is based on the courage of separating from what we once knew, courage of starting over, courage of fighting for our freedom. White represents purity and vigilance, purity because our country is independent and is not corrupted by any other country, and vigilance because our country needs to be cautious in the choices we make. Blue represents justice and perseverance, justice being the basis of our country, and perseverance because although our nation is young, we will stand strong against all opposition. However, patriotism is more than the flag, it’s our devotion to what it truly stands for; the stars for all 50 states coming together as one, just as the people of all differences coming together as one.
So why are we the number one nation in the world? Our patriotism. Why do we have immigration problems, why do so many people want to live here? The American dream. What makes America so great, so special? Our differences. These are what make America great. Lyndon B. Johnson once said in his inaugural address, “For this is what America is all about: It is the uncrossed desert and the unclimbed ridge. It is the star that is not reached and the harvest that is sleeping in the unplowed ground.”