Gabriela Bosonetto participated and earned 1st place in the district and 4th in the state in the Voice of Democracy writing contest. The 2016-2017 theme was My Responsibility to America. You can read her essay below, but you can also enjoy the audio of her essay on the main site. Great job, Gabriela!
For more information on the contest please visit the VFW's Youth Scholarship website https://www.vfw.org/VOD/.
What is my responsibility to America? We as a generation and as a people have many responsibilities to our country, such as supporting it, being loyal to it, and participating in the democracy that runs it. But although all of these things are very important, there is one responsibility that is largely ignored and overlooked by the general populace. That responsibility is gratitude. Gratitude consists of not only realizing how much someone or something has done for you but also acting upon that realization. How do we act upon it? We change the way we think and talk about the person or thing to which we owe gratitude. We have a responsibility to be grateful, to our forefathers for the freedom which they fought so bravely to secure, to the constitution from which we gain the rights privileges we now have as American citizens, and to the soldiers and police officers who work so hard to protect us.
Freedom is the intangible idea which is valued high above any material object. How far will we go to obtain it? How much will we sacrifice for it? The answers to these questions lie in the actions of those courageous colonists who dared to strive for that priceless attribute desired by all. When our founding fathers engaged in a bloody war against England and declared their independence, they showed just how much freedom meant to them. But in this day and age, freedom is very much taken for granted by those who have it. We should be grateful for both the freedom itself and for the people who sacrificed their lives while gaining it.
All of the people who have American citizenship live the “American dream.” What this means is that Americans have the ability to get anywhere, and do anything if they work hard enough. In some countries the money a person makes is not their own, and they can never move up in social standing. If you are unfortunate enough to be born poor, you will always stay poor no matter how hard you work. But this is not the case in America. In America you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. There are many people in the world who only dream of such freedom. We should be truly grateful for the rights and privileges that grant us this freedom.
Last and certainly not least are those outstanding people who put their lives on the line every day to protect us. The brave men and women who serve in the military and police force are the glue that holds this country together. In current times the sad truth is that the men and women in blue are sorely unappreciated and even despised at times. These are people who dedicate their lives to helping others. Are there corrupt cops? Yes, and there are also corrupt politicians, doctors, and teachers. No institution is without corrupt people, but that does not mean that the institution itself is corrupt. For each horribly wrong action that a corrupt police officer commits, good cops everywhere carry out hundreds of good deeds. Every arrest of a drunk driver, murderer, or other criminal they make saves countless lives. We have responsibility to be grateful to them, because they deserve our gratitude. The hundreds of soldiers who have sacrificed their lives for our country also deserve our utmost respect and gratitude. They protect our country by going far away to fight in wars. Leaving behind their family, friends, and homes is not easy yet they make this great sacrifice for us; for this country. We owe them a great deal.
What is my responsibility to America? My responsibility, as well as everyone’s responsibility is to be grateful. The freedom to speak freely, the freedom to practice our religion, and the freedom to elect the officials who govern us, are not standard in every country. We are truly blessed. As a collective, we need to be grateful for our freedom, for all the rights and privileges that come from that freedom, and for the army that protects that freedom. I have many things to be grateful for, but the thing I am most grateful for is that I live in the land of the free, home of the brave.