BY: Kaitlin Caginalp
Editor's Note: The following essay is by a St. Peter of Alcantara student, and was recognized at a recent afternoon awards assembly sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Manhasset Public Library.
To me, the flag of the United States is more than just a flag. It represents a beautiful, free land where anything can be achieved. I will tell you about the symbol of this wonderful land, America. You will discover what the stars and stripes mean to me. You'll learn about the flag of this beautiful land from when we were a young country of 13 states to the nation we are today.
When we became a country, we had a problem. We had no flag. Nobody wanted to use anything that looked too much like the British flag, so the stars and stripes were thought up. People embraced it, and pronto—we had a flag. Right?
Wrong. The flag of America is much more than that. It represents a nation of hope, freedom, peace, bravery and diversity. When I see the flag, I think of my great-grandparents on my Mom's side, who left Ireland in search of hope, and of my other grandparents and my Dad, who came from Turkey for a better life. They faced many hardships—my great-grandparents faced difficulties finding jobs and homes. My dad moved more than five times by the time he was 11. But in the United States, they found true freedom.
The flag also reminds me of the brave men and women who serve in our Army. They are so brave and patriotic to fight for our freedom overseas. They may have to move many times, rarely see loved ones and suffer much pain, but they stand strong to keep us free. My cousin is in the Marines, and I haven't seen him for many years, but I feel good knowing that he's helping to keep America safe. The American troops prove that we aren't known as the "home of the brave" for nothing. Also, the flag represents freedom. It's the best thing about the United States. We can worship in any way we choose. We can protest what we feel is wrong. You can write a 10-page letter to the government telling them they are doing everything wrong or write an article criticizing a politician, and nobody can arrest you. You can do anything in America—become famous, write a book, be a doctor. Of course, if you decide to pickpocket people all the, the blue in the flag—the justice—will have something to say about it. That's a great thing about this country—there is order.
Most of all, the flag represents 50 united and unique states together under one beautiful, bold flag. In conclusion, the flag of the United States of America means a lot to me and this country. Every flag, from the first, to Mary Pickersgill's Star Spangled Banner, to the flag lifted at Iwo Jima, even the mini flag in my room—they represent the same thing. America and diversity, bravery, freedom and hope. That is what the flag means to me.