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Van Gunten is essay contest winner

— Grangeville High School junior Grace Van Gunten was the recent winner in an essay contest.

In December of 2017, Van Gunten won the local Lewis Clark Valley Chapter contest and then her essay received second place in the 2017 Fleet Reserve Association- Pacific Northwest Region contest.


Grace Van Gunten

Van Gunten’s essay is titled, “What Does Patriotism Mean to Me?” and reads as follows:

“A man is a patriot if his heart beats true to his country.” (Mark Twain) Patriotism is the love and devotion one feels for the country they live in. It comes from the heart. To me patriotism is showing our love for our country not only by our words by also by our actions and choices. Since love requires action, true patriotism comes at a price.

As John F. Kennedy famously stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country”. Every year more than 180,000 people join the Armed Forces in the United States. They choose to risk their lives for the greater good of our country. Why? It is patriotism that fills their hearts with the courage, perseverance, and determination to do this. Patriotism brings out compassion, work ethics, and bravery. It encourages us to not sit back and complain but, rather work together to make America a better place for ourselves and for future generations. Without patriotism, we would not be able to see beyond ourselves or our own interests.

America, known as “The Great Melting Pot,” is a nation of many different cultures and religions but we are as one. I love living in a place where you can be anyone you want to be. We have the freedom to do and say, pray and work as we see fit. Although we may not always agree, we all value our freedom to live the way we choose. Only through our feelings of loyalty and allegiance to our great nation are we able to see through our differences and to work together.

I am so lucky and very grateful that I get to live in such a wonderful country and such a beautiful place. I deeply appreciate all those who have sacrificed in order for me to have the freedoms that I do and who make America a wonderful place to live. I am proud to live in America- the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”


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