Greenwood Middle School student wins VFW contest

Zoe N. Lowe, an eighth-grade student at Greenwood Middle School was the first-place winner of the VFW Post 5864 Patriot’s Pen contest for this year. She also placed second in the VFW’s District 7 judging. She is the daughter of Brian K. and Cheri W. Lowe. Zoe’s teacher is Maureen Hoffman Wehmeier. Araceli Garns earned a second-place position in the Post competition and Gabriella K. Clark was the third-place finisher. Both attend Greenwood M. S. There were two honorable mention recipients: Mya Keona May Gardner, Greenwood Middle School, and Molly C. Barnes, Barnes Classical Academy. Following is Zoe’s Post and District second place entry.

Zoe N. Lowe participated in a regional awards ceremony in Martinsville, Ind. last Saturday, Feb. 5. (Submitted photo)

How Can I Be a Good American?

By Zoe N. Lowe

Adlai Stevenson once said, “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” Being a good American is not about supporting our country only on special days with waving flags and loud shouts. It’s about building up the nation by doing small things every day and staying peaceful with others. Being a good American also means being respectful of other people’s beliefs regardless of their ethnicity or religion. Finally, supporting others who need it the most reflects the true American spirit.

There are many practical ways to be a good American. Some actions are big, some are small. Bigger acts require sacrifice, like running for office or joining the military to serve the country. Smaller steps, such as volunteering in your community or voting, are characteristics of good Americans. Bettering our country requires dedication and daily action in both big and small ways. American democracy centers on giving freedom to those who are oppressed. Many men and women have fought for this cause in war and lost their lives in the process. Others may have mental trauma from combat. Yet another way we can all be good Americans is to support those who may have suffered these traumas and the families who suffered great loss. Whether raising money or listening to someone else’s story, being a good American requires us to honor those who serve.

We can also honor those who serve by helping the oppressed people who they fought to free. One of America’s greatest strengths is the space to disagree with others and allow for different beliefs. Part of being a good American that rises from this strength is the ability to be respectful and kind to others who have differing beliefs. In America, we have the freedom of speech, freedom of worship, the right to peaceably assemble and more. With these freedoms we can express our beliefs in a peaceful way. Listening to others’ beliefs and respecting their freedoms as an American can make us all better citizens.

In conclusion, good Americans show up for their country every day in big and small ways. This includes respecting others’ freedoms, listening to others, honoring those who serve and taking different steps to help our nation. This is the kind of American that I want to be my whole life long.