Local winners have been announced in the 2019 VFW Voice of Democracy Contest sponsored by Westby Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8021. The theme of this year’s competition was “What Makes America Great.” The contest was open to all students in grades 9 through 12 including home-schooled students. This is a national contest, where the national winner receives a $30,000 college scholarship. There is a total of $153,000 in college scholarships awarded annually to state and national winners. More than 200 Westby High School students entered the contest.
Madalyn Komay, a ninth-grader and daughter of Greg and Terri Komay of Westby, won second place and received a $75 award.
What Makes America Great
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“What makes America great?” is a simple question we should all be able to answer. We can say we love America, but is it true? Do we give our country and flag the respect they deserve? It is a duty that we must support our country as long as we live here and are citizens in the United States of America. We may support our country in many ways, including serving in the military, providing for the sick, or fighting for what we believe is right. America is great because we have accessibility to medicines and medical care, we have more women’s rights than most other countries, and we also have a dedicated military training and fighting all the time, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
Beginning with my prime reason, hospitals are great benefits to a thriving country. Not only do hospitals provide jobs and help our economy keep growing, but they also help us to stay healthy and cure our diseases. According to Revcycle Intelligence, “If a hospital is doing well, so is the community around it; at least that appears to be the trend found by the New Jersey 2014 Economic Impact Report. The study indicates that New Jersey hospitals impact the economy in addition to providing an important public service.” This shows that when we have thriving hospitals, which we do, then we also will have thriving communities and economies. In many other poorer countries such as the Republic of Sierra Leone, Myanmar, and the DRC the healthcare is not nearly as good as ours here in the USA. Here we can drive ourselves in less than an hour to many hospitals to receive annual check-ups to make sure that we are healthy. Between the resources and the people who know how to use them, I think that we are a pretty lucky country.
Additionally, the U.S. has great women’s rights. Many other countries mainly in the Middle East do not have as many rights for women. Some countries have ridiculous rules against women. In the United States women are blessed with the right to vote, the right to a drivers license, and something as simple as a trial in court. According to the Washington Post, there are seven crazy sexist rules in some countries. For example, a woman only counts as half a witness in court, women still can’t vote in some countries, and unfortunately in some places in the world, women can be blamed and convicted for their own rape. These are all laws that should not have ever been allowed. Women’s rights are important to a country because if we can’t leave our houses without our husbands, how can women work a job and help our economy grow? Many doctors, police, and veterans are women, and that is something we can be proud to say. Without women in the workforce, where would we be? We should be glad to live in a country where gender doesn’t matter.
For the protection of us and our rights, we have a hard working, dedicated military willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Many countries do not have as strong a military as we do, which can be a downfall to a country when getting into conflict. War is not the best way to solve a conflict, but if the United States of America needed to go to war, the government knows that we have a fair shot at winning. We didn’t just start with a great military though. We need people who are willing to pick up and go off to training, leave their families, and risk it all. Men and women in Army camps wake up as early as 2:30 some mornings for a guard shift for ten weeks. In an article about the daily life in the United States Army boot camps Chrohn says, “Army boot camp isn’t just physically grueling, it is also emotionally exhausting. You and your fellow recruits are under constant, never-ending stress, with the drill instructors piling on more drama.” This is a great explanation showing how dedicated you must be to succeed in an Army boot camp. The same article later states, “It’s a daily pressure cooker, but if you can take it, you can take anything.” This goes further into explaining how difficult it must be to survive ten weeks of boot camp. If that isn’t dedication, I don’t know what is. The United States has strong military power, with men and women working as hard as they can behind it.
America, with hard working women and men, is great. When I see the flag every day, I know that we, as Americans, can be proud of our country. Support is important to the success of a country. Strive to say the Pledge of Allegiance daily because many historical figures have made the U.S. the beautiful country it is today. America is great because we are, “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”