North Canton Middle School eighth-grade students were asked, "What does patriotism mean to me?"
The top three essays were selected as the Patriot’s Pen Winners:
Patriot’s Pen Winner- 2020
Written By: Grace Dannemiller
What is patriotism to me? Patriotism is defined as “love for or devotion to one's country.” To
me, patriotism is pride for our nation and how the people who put their lives on the line are recognized.
There are some national holidays that make showing our pride easy. On Veteran’s Day,
Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, there are always parades and flags all around. Personally,
I feel that every day we should show our patriotism by recognizing and thanking those who serve our
country. Although it may seem scary, you should approach those in uniform and say “thank you for your
service.” The greatest form of patriotism is serving our country. All men and women that serve in the
military are heroes.
One hero I know is my grandpa. He served as a Marine in Vietnam. When I was 7, I vividly
remember him telling me the stories of war like when he had to wake up in the middle of a warzone, or
not being able to sleep for days. He also talks about the sacrifice and loss associated with being in
the war. He and so many others fought to preserve the rights of the American people.
At my age, I’m not able to enlist in the military or to fight in wars so I have had to come up
with other ways to show my patriotism. The simplest thing I do is stand and face the flag to show
respect during the playing of our national anthem. Another way I show my patriotism is by being a good
citizen. During this pandemic, Americans have been asked to show their patriotism by wearing a mask.
I wear one not only for myself but for people that are more vulnerable to the disease than me. I’m
proud to be an American and appreciate the sacrifice of those who came before me.
Patriot’s Pen Winner- 2020
Written By: Miranda Bille
What does patriotism mean to me? What does patriotism even mean?
According to the dictionary, “Patriotism means the quality of being patriotic; devotion to and
vigorous support for one’s country”. Heroes from the Marine Corp, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and
Navy risk their lives to protect millions of people, every single day! These people have a duty and a
loyalty to their own nation. Men and women in all military branches protect other citizens who feel
alone, unsafe, or unsure of where they stand. Although I can never put the meaning of patriotism into
real words, I will say it has many different and powerful meanings that some may never understand.
My late Grandfather, Charlie, served in the U.S Army for 2 years. He was drafted and served
from 1966-1968 in Fort Hood, Texas as military police. My mother and her sisters back then were all
probably scared every time he left home. Not knowing if he would come back home in one piece, or
come back home at all! Sharing a personal piece of information like that can be difficult for many, but
heroes, like my grandfather, would want to be remembered as someone who served his country with
Patriotism from my perspective is meaningful and positive. When I think of patriotism, I think
about all the good things veterans do for our country. They protect us and they fight for us and our
freedom. These are all things to be honored.
I wonder what patriotism means to those veterans. Mike Mealor, age 32, was Captain in the
U.S. army and he served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He believes, “Patriotism is not about supporting
people in leadership; it’s about supporting the idea of America and what it really is.” I agree with Mike,
what matters is support for the country and others surrounding us. Steve Smith, age 56, Lieutenant in
the U.S. Navy, served during the Iran-Iraq war. “Patriotism is putting the country before self.
Patriotism can be expressed in a number of ways, not just by service in the government or military,”
says Lieutenant Smith. People who don’t serve, still, certainly have a part in showing patriotism.
Patriotism is a very meaningful and powerful word. Although, I may never fully understand
what it truly means, I know patriotism is really about people. The people who pour their life and soul
into supporting America.
Patriot’s Pen Winner- 2020
Written By: Peyton Craig
The dictionary says patriotism means “ The quality of being patriotic; devotion to and vigorous
support for one's country.” But to me, it is so much more than that.
Patriotism to me is many things. Loving your country with all your heart, seeing the flag, and
being proud to live here. Trying to make your country a better place, accepting the flaws and trying to
fix them. Being grateful for the fact that we have freedom. Knowing that I’m protected by the millions
of men and women who have died or put their life on the line- not only for their country but for the
people who need to be fought for.
I am really thankful that I live in America. I have the freedom to choose where I want to work
and live. Freedom of speech, Freedom of religion, Freedom of the press. We have so many rights and
privileges compared to other countries. People with disabilities can get the help, care, and love that
they need instead of being killed just because they’re different than most of us. The homeless have
stations where they can get the food, water, and shelter they need instead of being left for dead on
the street. We get to choose who we want to love, what we want to wear, and what to eat, where we
want to live, and so much more.
But just like everything else, America isn’t perfect, and it has flaws. In the age where we are
the most connected, we are also the most divided. It’s always us versus them. People hate each other
just because they have different opinions on who should be president, what is right and wrong, or who
they love. We have seen it even more this year with the riots, with people screaming at each other and
setting things on fire. But I believe that we can get better. That we can try to fix all the problems and
grow from them. It will take time, but I believe that we could get there one day.
Even if America has flaws, and areas it needs to change, I’m still thankful. To go home and
have the freedoms that so many people don’t have, to go to bed at night at peace knowing I am
protected. I am so grateful that I am an American and will be grateful until my last breath.
These students were sponsored by VFW Post/Auxiliary 7490 Louisville.