Four young writers read their essays at the Patriot's Pen and Voice of Democracy awards Wednesday night at the Estherville VFW Post 3388, with a total of six recognized. Their message has really changed little from what it was during World War I and II we must be proud of our military and ourselves as Americans if we are to continue to survive as a nation.
It's good to see young people thinking and writing about this topic. Given the reality of our military involvement in Afghanistan, our turning over control of Iraq to that country's military and ongoing tensions with Iran and North Korea, the importance of our military to our national defense is in no way diminished from what it has been at any time in our nation's history.
That's why such awards and youth writing about our country and military are so important. They recognize the efforts of our youth to acknowledge what it is that makes our country truly great.
Sadly, some say they have no faith in our youth, no faith in their vigor, energy, patriotism or ability to do hard work.
Well, they're wrong.
We just need to look around us to see our high-school scholars and athletes excel every day. If we go back about 45 years a relatively short space in time, we remember protests in the streets against the Vietnam Conflict, draft card burning and even the burning of the American flag. We see none of that now. Instead, we see volunteers for two wars Iraq and Afghanistan. No draft has been necessary, because when the War on Terror began Sept. 11, 2001, our young people were enlisting the next day, carrying the war to the terrorists' front door.
We can thank our VFW Post 3388 Legion and Auxiliary for recognizing these youth. They, of all people, are uniquely qualified to understand patriotism and why it's not a ribbon or medal on a person's chest, but something that goes all the way to our heart when we say the Pledge of Allegiance or tap our feed proudly to Stars and Stripes Forever.
May God bless America.