Flag essays: Kids speak out

Haley Rentschler

Isabelle Grant

Luke Buchholz

Luke Tuecke

Selecting winning essays from a strong field of 26 submissions was a tough task for Hila Garms and Mary Harstad, who judged the recent annual Fifth Grade Flag Essay Contest. The contest was sponsored by Elkader’s American Legion Post 106.

The purpose of the contest is to develop a deeper knowledge and appreciation for the U.S. flag. One objective is to gain knowledge of flag etiquette and respect for the flag.

Essays were limited to 300 words; writers of the top four essays received certificates at a special assembly prior to the end of the school year.

First-place honors went to Isabelle Grant, daughter of Jamie and Denise Grant, Volga. Her essay focused on the concept of freedom and what that means to her.

Luke Tuecke, son of Joe and Liz Tuecke, Elkader, wrote the second-place essay. He talks about thanking people who have ensured our freedom, including his uncle.

Third-place honors went to Luke Buchholz, grandson of Roger and Betty Buchholz, Elkader, wrote about a relative who fought with George Washington and was, for a time, a prisoner of war.

Togetherness is the theme of the essay written by Haley Rentschler, daughter of Brian and Thea Rentschler, St. Olaf. She acknowledges that some people love the flag and others hate it. For her, however, the flag is a symbol of respect.

The Register is pleased to share the top four essays in their entirety and unedited.

“What I Think About the American Flag”—Isabelle Grant

First Place

I think the American flag is important to me because it gives us freedom. Freedom for me means some different things. One of the things is how I am able to learn the things that I want to learn and read the books that I want to read. Another thing is being able to go where I want to go and do and say the things without worrying about being taken to jail or taken away from my family. Freedom also gives me the right to vote since I am a female. When my grandmother was little she remembers when her grandmother would talk about how she had always wanted to vote. Her grandmother was so excited the first time she could vote but more than excited she was proud because of the freedom this gave her. Without freedom African Americans would still be slaves. Lots of people fought for us Americans to have freedom. Although my grandfather is not a Veteran my brothers and I get little flags and flowers then we take them to his gravestone on Veterans Day. To me the flag is freedom that gives me a great feeling of being an American.

“United States Flag Essay”—Luke Tuecke

Second Place

To me, the flag means freedom, loyalty, and hope. I enjoy the freedom of traveling throughout the country with my family. I can be loyal to my beliefs without being punished. I have the hope that someday our country will help the world work toward peace.

The first flag had thirteen stars in a circle and thirteen stripes, all representing the first thirteen colonies and the start of our country. The three colors of the flag were thoughtfully chosen and represent qualities of: purity, innocence, hardiness, bravery, perseverance and justice. Even though the flag has changed a lot, it still has the same meaning of one indivisible nation.

On Veteran’s Day 2012, my family called my uncle to thank him for his service in the Army in Afghanistan. We also took a pie and ice cream to my neighbor’s house and thanked him for his service in Italy during World War II.

I am thankful to know people that were willing to fight for our country a long time ago and today. By their service, I see loyalty, and have freedom and hope. This is what the flag means to me.

“Flag Essay”—Luke Buchholz

Third Place

When I see the Flag, it reminds me of my great-great-great-great-great grandfather who was a German Hessian. He fought with the redcoats for 2 years, until he betrayed the redcoats and fought for the colonies. He fought with Washington at Valley Forge. In one battle, he was taken prisoner and hauled back to England. He was kept there until the end of the war. At the end of the war, he went back to Germany to work as a stonemason. Later his son, his son’s wife, and his nine grandchildren sailed to America. They first landed at Ellis Island, New York. The first thing he saw was the American Flag.

His son thought of the red stripes, the blood of the soldiers spilled. The stars, the states his father fought for. He saluted his father and the other colonial soldiers. He began his new life as a free American.

His son reminds me of what I think of the flag. The red stripes remind me of all the blood Americans soldiers have spilled in wars. The stars, all 50 states that soldiers fought and died for.

“America’s Extraordinary Flag”—Haley Rentschler

Fourth Place

Our nation’s flag is not only a symbol of our courageous and fighting soldiers who bravely fight for America’s privilege to be independent and have individual rights, but it is also a symbol of our country’s togetherness. After July 4th, 1776, the people of the colonies felt the need of a national flag to symbolize their new spirit of unity and independence. On the flag of the United States, there are 13 stripes. Those stripes stand for the 13 original colonies. All of the stars represent all of the states. On our flag, the white signifies purity and innocence. The red indicates the hardiness and bravery of the soldiers. The Blue express courage, alertness, perseverance, and justice. This flag, which we honor and which we serve, is the unity, our power, our thoughts and purpose as a nation. The American Flag is one of the most important symbols our nation has. Some people love the flag or hate the flag, fight for it or tear it to shreds. When I see the flag, it makes me think of freedom, pride, justice, and my cousin Cody, who is currently fighting for our country. I am very happy Cody is still alive. I am very proud to say that I know someone who is risking his life for me to be free. I have faith in our country, and I will always respect the flag.

By Pam Reinig, Register Editor

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