SIOUX CITY | The American Legion of Iowa sponsors an annual U.S. flag essay contest for fifth-grade students.
Fitzgerald Grant, a student at Siouxland Christian School in Sioux City, earned fourth place out of more than 5,000 entries this spring. Grant's submission was entered by Morningside American Legion Post No. 697. James Dean, American Legion 9th District Commander, presented Grant with a check for $25 for winning the District contest.
Morningside American Legion Post No. 697 Commander Dave Binder and Post Adjutant Bill Backer also presented Grant with a $25 check for winning the local contest.
Grant, son of Fitz and Jennifer Grant, submitted his winning essay for publication here.
"What the flag represents to me is freedom," Grant wrote. "The flag makes me think of the people that sacrificed their lives to make us free, and what our country has gone through to become a free nation. When I look at the stars and stripes on the flag, I think of the 50 states that our country has become and how it all started with the 13 colonies.
"The flag makes me think of the wonderful people in our country's history. People who had great ideas and the leadership and the courage to use their new ideas to develop our country. I think that no American should disrespect a veteran, the flag, or anything else from our history.
"When I look at the flag, I think of the people that keep us safe every day. People such as the police, firemen, and the military. When I see an American flag, it makes me feel safe, protected and proud to be an American. When I say the 'Pledge of Allegiance,' I want to show honor to the flag and country.
"I know that many countries do not have the freedoms that we have in the United States," Grant concluded. "I am very thankful for the freedom that I have here; the American flag represents freedom and liberty. The flag makes me think of our country and the freedom that it has, and the rights that we have, such as being able to own a firearm and choose our career instead of taking a test for it.
"I am thankful for our freedom that everyone has in this country and think that no American should take it for granted."