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Patriot's Pen Winners from LCJSMS

The Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School has had a long-standing practice of recognizing patriotism in our country. The Patriot's Pen essay contest, conducted nationwide, is a VFW-sponsored youth essay competition giving students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme.

The theme this year, My Gift to America, was expertly addressed by three LCJSMS students, whose work won them local recognition. Grade 8 Language Arts teachers Grace Buonpane, Neil Sharma, and Gary Burns, assign the essay each year and guide the students towards the presentation of the theme. This year Lara Cota, Gwen DelJones, and Hope Basaman impressed the judges!

On February 27, 2018, those students had the honor of being recognized by the following men: Steve Falk, USMC, Adjutant, Past Commander VFW Post 6259 and Frank Perlzak, US Army, Past Commander. We thank them, and all veterans, for their service to the United States of America.

Winners of contest stand with veterans.

Below are the three essays selected from the hundreds

of essays in the Patriot's Pen contest this year.

America's Gift to My Generation


We don't recall their names, we don't relate to the sacrifices they've made, we don't share the grief and agony they've endured, and we'll never truly comprehend the repercussion their actions had on our lives, but we'll always recognize their patriotic spirit that brought us to where we stand today. The veterans of the United States of America completed unbelievable sacrifices to afford us aspects of life we now have the opportunity to explore. The America's gift to my generation is the limitless paths we can take to mold our futures.

In today's society, we can define our lives using our imagination; if we work diligently, the world's variety of options welcome us with open hands. We have the freedom to learn about all the different aspects of our worlds, experience grand adventures life may bear us, and make choices concerning our futures. My generation has the privileges people dreamed of having before. We're able to explore, learn, and shape our society for the better. These priceless liberties are owed to the veterans who placed their country's needs before their own and had the audacity to abandon the securities of their homes to defend their nation in unfamiliar territories, where they're no longer embraced by the affection of their families. The tears of anguish and anger that streamed down the faces of family members as the soldiers bid them farewell or weren't able to pull through didn't fall in vain. Their sacrifices enabled America to proudly hold up the nation's historical flag that symbolizes the patriotism, valor, and liberty we were granted. I am eternally indebted to the veterans for allowing me to be welcomed into the country with the prosperous education and opportunities I now have. Theatre, sports, literature, science, and math are the prospects of life I'm exploring thanks to the freedom I have. America is a home of possibility, and I can seize every single one due to their noble sacrifices.

America bestowed my generation the capability to form our boundless futures. The fallen, scarred soldiers who gave up their safety for our choices allowed the future generations to continue to lead our society down the right path. As we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the country for which it stands, we express our gratitude towards our fallen heroes for having inextinguishable faith in our capacity to transform the world.

The Gift of Greatness and Liberty


President Truman once said, "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand." America was created using determination, imagination and a disregard for fear. America's soldiers keep this in mind as they duel for the freedom of America. Our soldiers have given my generation the continuing gifts of greatness and liberty, they have kept our country up to the standard of power that we have been given, and they keep us at liberty to do what we please, living under the unfurled flag of freedom.

Since the creation of America, people have been free. Soldiers have kept America and it's citizens independent from the strictness of being ruled by other countries. In 2003, the start of the Iraq War, a war in which America participated and caused the death of 4,486 American soldiers. Though no one truly won the Iraq War, soldiers still fought for our freedom, and fighting this war was a punctuation mark for our independence. Americans, are still free from the bounds of strict forms of government, because of the gift of bravery as well as the courage of soldiers.

In addition, America has been known to be a powerful country; we defeat our enemies. Our soldiers keep us at the level of power and greatness that we are known for. Since we defeated Great Britain in 1776, we have been known for power, having been the allies of the winners of both world wars. For instance, on July 28, 1914, World War I started and America was recruited as an ally by Russia, along with France and Great Britain. America helped win that war, with the power that we have and the amount of trust other countries have in us. America's soldiers keep that power and greatness with them as they bestow upon us the gift of defense for my generation.

As time goes on, as America continues, we will be known for our loyalty to our country, no matter what happens. When people of our nation are patriotic, they are passionate and proud of their country, even if they have immigrated here, they still have that passion. Many patriots take their feelings about America and put that into work. For instance, they join the military. Soldiers use passion to save and protect, their country. These soldiers and veterans have given us great gifts of power and liberty, which have been kept with America since the beginning. Consequently the hard work of American soldiers, stays with us.

America Pushes My Buttons


Life is simple for many Americans. Everything happens with the touch of a screen. America has been changing from generation to generation, and it is time that we, the millennials, give back. While the military is fighting assiduously to keep our country protected, they have technological improvements including weaponry and medical assistance. There are innumerable ways America has given its gift to the future generations through the military, education, and manufacturing. America has been planting seeds for centuries, but it is our generation that will make those seeds grow.

First of all, the military protects our beloved country with seemingly endless resources. Veterans and current soldiers are getting technological help to fight and defend. Automatic weapons and wireless missiles are some examples of what the military is capable of now. Medical advancement in the military is also benefiting all generations. Battlefield care and trauma centers now have portable sterilizers, mobile hospital units, and treatments for infectious diseases. Overall, the military has been granted these wonderful advancements, and as a result, give us the gift of freedom and protection.

In addition, as millennials, we are a generation dependent upon technology like our phones, laptops, and cars to survive. While not perfect, the inventors of America have worked to shape a utopian society where everything works by the push of a button or the tap of a screen. The simplicity and ease of our lifestyles is all thanks to technological developments. As a student, I have been issued my own iPad and Chromebook throughout my school years. All of these electronics have been made possible because of America's past. Even though education has changed over the years, it has been made better. Back in the "olden days" women had to sew clothes and men had to manually work machines in factories. Now, however technology is an exceptional gift to us, and we love how effortless life is. America has changed technology, and technology has changed us.

With life being so easy, we sometimes forget who gave that option to us. The option of waking up with freedom, being able to drive to work, call friends across the country, and type emails and texts. America and its veterans have handed this to us on a silver platter. Military grade weaponry and medical assistance, communication, education, and manufacturing are all ways America has given the gift of technology to its citizens.