Elks Cape Henlopen Lodge 2540 celebrated a combined Flag Day and Americanism Award ceremony at a recent well-attended luncheon.
The program was opened by Exalted Ruler Ralph Patterson who welcomed guests. Elks member Carol Davis offered a beautiful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” followed by a prayer and history of the flag.
Boy Scout Troop 2540, led by Scoutmaster Bob Curatola and Assistant Scoutmaster John Renshaw, presented the flags, followed by folding of a large American flag with explanations of the meaning of the 13 folds. The ceremony concluded with the retirement of old flags.
During the 2018-19 school year, the Elks invited all Cape elementary and middle school classes to write essays on Americanism, and 130 students wrote essays on What Makes You Proud of America.
The contest encourages students to become aware of what America and freedom are, and to become familiar with the privileges and responsibilities of being an American.
Elks Americanism Chair Peggy Sander said, “It was enlightening to read these essays. I was surprised by the depth of knowledge and emotion the children had as they wrote of their freedoms and pride of country. We wanted this to be a classroom project so the children would write their own opinions and views on the topic rather than have parents help with the challenge. I think the children were brilliant.”
The winning essays are entered into the Elks district and state competitions; those winners are submitted to the Elks national competition. Every participating student received a certificate of appreciation from Elks Lodge 2540. Each first-place winner received a $100 VISA gift card; second-place winners got $50 VISA gift cards, third place $35 gift cards and fourth place $25 gift cards.
Patterson said, “All 130 essays were read by the committee, and everyone was impressed by the quality of writing by the children. It is part of our mission to foster pride in America. It was a pleasure to present the well-deserved awards.”
The 2018-19 Americanism Essay Winners for Division 1 are sixth-grader Carly Favoroso, fifth-grader Hayden Lenz, fifth-grader Adrianna Mifflin and fifth-grader Delainie Monitzer. Division 2 winners are eighth-grader Kaitlin Eisenmann, eighth-grader Anna Fantoli, seventh-grader Anna Kucharik and seventh-grader Collin Sivels.
For more information regarding the Elks and the Americanism contest, call Patterson at 480-710-2696.
What Makes Me Proud of America?
By Division 1 Hayden R Lenz, fifth grade
I am proud of America because we have many rights. In America we have the right to an education. As Americans we also have religious freedom. Our rights and freedom are protected by our military. Many other countries are not like this and for those reasons I am proud of America.
Being able to receive an education is the first reason I am proud of America. In some countries, only the wealthy are educated. In other countries, girts are not even allowed to go to school. I was surprised to!earn that in some parts of the world the government chooses what is taught and you could be punished if you question it. In America I have the right to a fair education and I am proud of that.
Having religious freedom is the second reason I am proud of America. In America you have the right to practice whatever religion you choose. In many other countries you can be harmed for your religious beliefs. Therefore, I am proud of America because I can practice my religion and even change my religion without being judged or punished.
I am also proud of America because of our military. Around the world there are many countries who have a military that don't protect them but control them by force instead. The people there live in fear and can't do anything about it. The Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force keep America safe and protect our rights and our freedom. The protection and sacrifices they make for us is amazing and I am so proud of America because of our military forces.
When I began writing this essay I didn't realize that many other countries don't have the same freedom and rights that Americans have. I have learned that there are millions of young people around the world that might not ever get the opportunities I have living in America. For that I am grateful. I am proud of America because of our right to a fair education, our religious freedom and the military forces that serve and protect us.
Buy Division 2 winner Anna Kucharik, seventh grade
America is a nation I am proud to live in. Our government allows more rights and privileges to our citizens than any other country, and our country is astonishingly beautiful.
I am proud we have democratic leadership system instead of a dictatorship or monarchy.
In a democracy, the American people, have control over who is in office. That's why voting is important; you have a say in your future. A democracy gives equal opportunity to everyone in the country to make a change. I especially find that important when people have very different opinions on topics. They can settle things fairly.
I am also proud of America because it is gorgeous. I am fortunate enough to be only 13 and have been to 29 states. What I've seen is enough for me to say that it is truly beautiful in this country. America is prized for its natural beauty, and tourism is important to some states' economies. Go see things, you will not be disappointed.