The Carson City School Board announced the winners for the sixth annual American Citizen Essay Contest. Three winners were selected; an elementary school student, a middle school student and a high school student. There were 157 total entries.
The topic for this year's essay was, "My favorite American patriot and why?"
The winning essays are published below as they were originally written.
My Favorite American Patriot
Nadia Tung, fifth grade
Bordewich-Bray Elementary School
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain rights that among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Ahh ... the moving words of Thomas Jefferson, our third president of this great country.
He was a learned man who worked as a lawyer and governor of Virginia. I challenge any modern day person to do what he did and more.
Thomas Jefferson is my favorite American patriot because he accomplished so much even risking his life to co-write the Declaration of Independence. If it hadn't existed, we would still be under British rule. With the help of his grand-daughter, Cornelia, he designed the University of Virginia. Even today its campus is one of the most beautiful architectural buildings in the U.S.
Jefferson also replaced Benjamin Franklin as minister of France. His job was to keep both countries from battling each other. In 1803, President Jefferson made the largest land purchase in U.S. history Ð the Louisiana Purchase. For just about five cents an acre, he bought 828,000 square miles that soon became all or parts of 15 states.
Thomas Jefferson was and still is, one of the most important person in American history. He is remembered by all for his truly outstanding work, and that is why I pick him as my favorite American patriot.
The Passengers of Flight United 93 Ð American Patriots
Rachel Anderson, seventh grade
Bethlehem Lutheran School
Imagine this, on a perfectly normal morning, a flight, Flight United 93 takes off from an airport in Newmark, New York, at 8:42 a.m. The flight goes as planned until, one or two men in red bandannas go to the cockpit of the plane.
A few minutes later, a voice comes over the intercom speaking to the passengers saying, "there are men claiming to have a bomb on board. Please remain calm. We are meeting their demands."
Soon after that, sounds of a scuffle can be heard over the intercom and a voice yelling "Let's get out of here! Let's get out of here!" Two other men in red bandannas herd the passengers to the front and back of the plane. During this time, people all around you are making phone calls to loved ones and authorities to report the hijacking of the plane.
There is a rumor going around that this plane is going to be crashed into the White House. A few others around you are plotting an uprising to stop the hijackers. What are you to do? Are you to call a loved one, break down and cry or join the uprising?
This sounds like a fictional drama, but this is what really happened on September 11, 2001. Every single person on Flight United 93 met their deaths in a Pennsylvania field, far from the intended crash destination, the White House.
Who were the passengers of Flight United 93? These people did not have super powers. They were not masterminds. They were just ordinary, everyday people who decided to take a stand and save lives by sacrificing themselves. They were normal people from across the nation, from New Jersey to Hawaii, from Colorado to Florida. But where they come from makes no difference.
What unites them is the fact that they gave their lives son that others might live.
What made these people true patriots? To answer this question accurately, we must look at what exactly happened on that tragic morning. From the information gained from phone calls made from passengers, we know that one or two hijackers entered the cockpit, killed the pilots and kicked the plane out of autopilot.
All of the passengers were herded to the front and back of the plane. At 9:57 a.m., the revolt started. Phone calls with loved ones were ended as the callers joined the uprising. No one knows exactly how the revolt went. But we do know that at 10:02 a.m., the plane began its descent to crash into that field.
One theory is that the hijackers crashed the plane in order to keep the passengers from gaining control of the plane. Another, better known theory is that the passengers gained control of the plane and crashed it in to the field to avoid hitting the White House.
Although we may never know who crashed Flight United 93, we know that the passengers revolted to save the leaders of our country. This simple statement is what makes the passengers of Flight United 93 true patriots.
The reason I chose these brave people as the subject of this essay is because they decided to take a stand and take on professional hijackers in order to save the president and other major American leaders. They chose to save others, even at the expense of their own lives. They also saved America from falling into chaos, because if their plane had hit the White House, many of America's leaders would have been lost, including the president. They gave the ultimate sacrifice.
There is a story within the tragedy of 9/11; it is the story of those who gave their lives so others might live. They chose to change the fate of this country, even if it meant they had to make the ultimate sacrifice. This is the reason why the passengers of Flight United 93 are the patriots of this century. They will be honored and respected for centuries to come. They have show what it truly means to be an American.
Favorite American Patriot
Gordon Lee, junior
Carson High School
The great American patriot of this time is not some politician that helped change the nation, is not some person who engaged in word debates for the U.S., and is not a person who sits and argues about the changing of laws.
He was a man who sacrificed everything to try and help to ensure the safety and well-being of the great nation he lived in. His name was Patrick Tillman.
Fame was to come, but he sacrificed it. Fortune was ensured, but he sacrificed it. A bright future was guaranteed, but he sacrificed that. Pat Tillman sacrificed things that many Americans would never dream of giving up under any circumstances, and that makes him a true American patriot.
Pat Tillman was a safety for the Arizona Cardinals. He was a strong willed man with strong morals. His character and loyalty to what he was doing was shown when he turned down a $9 million dollar deal with the St. Louis Rams due to his loyalty to the Cardinals. An up and coming professional NFL football star, he would turn down the incoming fame to be a hero in Iraq.
He would sacrifice his life for his country and for its people. Also Patrick Tillman would turn down an offer from his own Cardinals to serve his country. Out of respect for the troops who had fought before, Patrick Tillman unselfishly signed up for the military. He would walk away from fame and vast amounts of money.
Money is often the object of desire for most people. Money was no problem for Patrick Tillman, for he had millions on the way, but he would turn down a $3.5 million contract for 3 years of playing in exchange for a job that pays less than $15,000 per year. His willingness to walk away and support a war he did not even support truly shows his patriotic character.
Pat Tillman would also walk away from probably endorsements that would surely bring him an extra amount of cash. Knowing the full danger of the situation he was about to enter, Mr. Tillman would sacrifice all to try and ensure the safety and freedom of others. His selfless act of courage will always be remembered. He would also walk away from ensuring his family a truly comfortable life.
Family is usually everything and ensuring the children a comfortable future usually tops the lists for a father figure to do. However, Patrick Tillman saw beyond this and wanted to allow more than just his family and kids to experience a future filled with opportunities. He would leave to go and fight for a country to try and ensure that other families and kids would not have to deal with the people called terrorists and their killing of innocent people. He sacrificed himself for the benefit of others and for his country, and that is the ultimate proof of his patriotism.
The selfless acts of Patrick Tillman for his country and for his fellow country men truly show that he is a true American patriot. He is an inspirational man who will continue to impact people with his life story. The love of his nation and his respect for the armed services would cause him to go and sacrifice everything so that he could try and create a difference in the world.
Patrick Tillman is a true American hero and patriot, and he will always be remembered in the hearts of many.
Winner: Nadia Tung, Bordewich Bray, fifth grade
2nd Place: Jessie Balkwell, Capital Christian School, fourth grade
3rd Place: Samantha Kechely, Bethlehem Lutheran, fifth grade
Winner: Rachel Anderson, Bethlehem Lutheran, seventh grade
2nd Place: Victor Favero, Carson Middle School, eighth grade
3rd Place: Briseida Hyatt, Bethlehem Lutheran, eighth grade; Leah Berris, Eagle Valley Middle School, eighth grade
Winner: Gordon Lee, Carson High School, junior
Second Place: Tiffany Moore, Carson High School, junior; Brianna Gormly, Carson High School, junior
Third Place: Shaun Fitzgerald, Carson High School, sophomore; Krystyne Basa, Carson High School, junior