Editor’s note: Lauren Roberts won first place in the recent Moffat County Young Patriots Essay Contest. Her essay won her $100. Melissa Hill took second prize and a $75 award. The Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots sponsored the essay contest, which was open to all Moffat County students in grades 9 to 12, last month. Students answered the prompt, “What does it mean to be an American?” Roberts’ winning essay follows:
What it means to be an American
It is sometimes easy to forget what an incredible thing it is to be an American; what a privilege it is to be free, to be a member of such a strong, proud nation.
Not everyone has the luxury of liberty, and Americans can sometimes forget to appreciate just how lucky they are to live in the beautiful land.
America was founded on freedom, and it is a concept that has inspired this country and those who inhabit it to greatness. For it is the people who have been here, and the people here today that have made this nation the incredible place it is.
Americans have a responsibility to these people, and being an American means accepting these responsibilities to those who came before them and to those who live beside them today.
One of the most important responsibilities Americans have is to remember. We cannot allow ourselves to forget, even for a moment, the cost that has been paid to achieve our way of life. Forgetting those who paid the ultimate price is as much a tragedy as losing them in the first place.
Every war, every conflict, took American lives, and it is our responsibility to remember every one of them, and to make sure they live on in our memories. These men and women deserve our respect, our gratitude, and so, so much more. Not only is it our responsibility to remember those who fought and died, but all of those who served, for they should be honored as well. Just as it is their duty to serve their country, it is our duty as Americans to stand behind them and to recognize them as the heroes that they are.
Being an American also means taking on a responsibility to stand by one another. America has come upon trying times, but it is trials such as these that have made this country great.
Americans are a resilient people, and they will rise to any occasion. Any challenges that they face, they face together. It is in difficult situations that Americans show their true strength, their true character. It is the responsibility of every American to uphold that character, to help one another, and to do what we can to make sure that we emerge from our struggles victorious.
America is an extraordinary nation populated by extraordinary people. There have been countless men and women willing to give their lives so that we can live ours freely. There are all those who come together when duty calls, facing challenges and overcoming.
That is what it truly means to be an American, to rise to the occasion and to take on our responsibilities to our country and each other.
It is Americans that have made America the beautiful place it is, and it is our responsibility as Americans to remember what has been done to get here, and to stand together to face the challenges of today, so that we may move, victorious, into tomorrow.
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