Victoria Blackstone, of St. Agnes School, in Roseville, MN, won the "Wave the Stars and Stripes" contest sponsored by the Republican National Convention with this well-written essay.
Pledging Myself to the Flag of the United States of America
By Victoria Blackstone
At the beginning of each school day, we are all asked to stand. We place our hands on our hearts. We recite the Pledge of Allegiance. No matter how tired I am, I make sure to stand up straight and speak sincerely. Everyday, I willingly pledge myself to our star-spangled banner, something that may just look like a piece of cloth. But I know that this cloth of red, white and blue is so much more.
When I pledge myself to the flag of the United States of America, I am able to become a part of our country’s proud history. I am with our founding founders in Independence Hall, and I myself sign the document. As I gaze at the flag I see the same flag Francis Scott Key saw, which inspired him to write the Star-Spangled Banner. With the flag I stand by Thomas Jefferson as he signs the Louisiana Purchase, expanding our country to the next frontier. I join Meriwether Lewis and William Clark as they explore the west. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, I journey in the night with the slaves to freedom, and I can hear the Emancipation Proclamation. With the flag I am an immigrant at Ellis Island, hoping to enter the home of the free and the place where dreams come true. During the Great Depression, I join my fellow Americans in a bread line.
As I devote myself to this banner, I stand along side the soldiers of Iwo Jima, helping them to raise our flag. I march in Montgomery as we boycott the bus system. I tremble with pride as Martin Luther King, Jr., tells me of his dream in front of the Lincoln Memorial. When I see the flag, I am also there as the Twin Towers crumble and fall. I work with the firefighters to recover the bodies, and I volunteer with those handing out food and medicine. And, as I stand before the flag, I am with my cousin as he flies his helicopter in Iraq.
For me, the flag of the United States of America unites Americans to their proud history. It is the symbol that has stood beside America since the day of our founding. And though someone may destroy the material part of the flag, no one can take away what our flag symbolizes. When I see our flag, I see every single man and women who has dedicated their lives to our flag and the people, the ideas, and the country it represents. With my morning recital of the Pledge of Allegiance, I take my place beside them.