At Tuesday night’s meeting of the Kennett VFW Post 5443, members took the time to honor Kennett Middle School Patriot’s Pen recipients Olivia Daniels, Emma McCormick, and Eliza Raspberry, along with Connie Oldsen, assistant principal, who is in the running for Teacher of the Year by the VFW of the United States.
Commander Phillip Greenway introduced the four, along with KMS Principal Ward Billings, several other teachers, parents, and grandparents. “We want to thank you, because the girls this year have done an excellent job of representing the school,” said Greenway. “Their essays are simply outstanding. Thank you for your support.”
Emma McCormick, the daughter of Jeff and Christine McCormick, won third place for her essay. She was introduced and given a $50 check. In her essay, “What if You Were Not Free,” she credited her ability to make her own decisions to the “brave men and women who have fought or are fighting for our country.”
She also expressed the need of every American to “cherish all our freedoms like our democratic government, our freedom to receive a good education, and our freedom of speech.” When explaining the true meaning of freedom, she quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” McCormick concluded her essay by stating that the only reason Americans are allowed to live their own lives without fear is “because of the soldiers who put their lives on the line every day.”
Next, Greenway introduced second place winner, Eliza Raspberry. She, too, was awarded with a $50 check. Raspberry introduced herself, along with her dad, Charles Raspberry. She started her essay with a quote, “Madeline L’Engle once said, ‘Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person.” She continued, “I’m grateful that in our country, freedom is valued by everyone. The freedom to make our own choices, to speak our minds, and the price that was paid to allow us those freedoms, is what makes freedom so important to me.”
She added that as a young woman, she was grateful to be able to choose an education, a profession, and the person she marries, because in some countries, that freedom for girls does not exist. Raspberry also grateful for her ability to speak her mind and voice her opinions without the fear of retribution, but rather with the ability to seek out others with the same opinions. She closed with praising the military, both past and present, who gave their lives and made sacrifices to ensure those freedoms remain in place. “Some teenagers might possibly take their freedom for granted,” said Raspberry. “But, because of these sacrifices made for us through a selfless act of bravery, I know I never will.”
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