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A salute to the flag

Every year the Aspen Elks Club sponsors an essay-writing contest for local fifth- and sixth-graders about how it feels to look at the American flag. It’s part of a larger contest that Elks Clubs conduct, and winners of each local competition may compete in regional and state contests.The fifth-grade students of one Aspen Middle School teacher, Kellie Schenck, swept the local contest this year. Ilona Schwarz, who won first place, went on to receive top honors in the regional and state competitions. Following is her winning piece, along with the essays from the other winners, Kyra Ward and Maggie Ryan.What I feel when I look up at the American flagBy Maggie RyanMany people across our country have very emotional feelings about our nation’s flag. For me the colors of the flag bring feelings of sadness, pride and hope.”When I look at the red on the flag, I see a smoky field scattered in wounded or dead soldiers. Our brave soldiers risked their lives to save our country, our people. I imagine the suffering they felt and that of their families. Their parents and children must have been so sad. To me, the blood and pain are what the red of the flag means.As for the white and blue, they symbolize the skies and clouds after the last gunfire. I put myself there, in the battlefield; my bunkmate is lying wounded next to me. Then I see the blue and white sky peeking through the smoke. Our flag is waving in the wind. After all our suffering, we can feel proud and hopeful.So now, when I look up to the flag, I see more than just red, white and blue. I instantly feel the historical meaning of what our flag stands for. I am sad, proud and hopeful all at the same time.

By Ilona SchwarzWhen I look up at the American flag I feel honor and pride. The blue square on our flag reminds me of the perfect sky, the tall mountains, and wide prairies we have in America. The magnificent red and white stripes on our flag represents the brave and courageous soldiers that have given their blood and devotion to our country. Even when gun powder flew and the ground was covered in blood, our flag stood tall, proud, and full of honor. The American flag might be old and torn but will always represent freedom, peace, honor, faith, and love for our country. Even though some people hate and despise our flag and our country, we still stand united. I am honored to see our red, white and blue flag stand high and proud.When I look deeply in to our flag I see pain and love. America’s past is woven in each stitch, the past, bad and good. Looking at our flag I feel so grateful and loved to have the opportunity to be here in America. Think to yourself how many places have beautiful mountains, sweet smelling flowers, wide open spaces, freedom in every way, and unity. That is what I feel every time I look into our flag, and I can only think of one place that has all those qualities and characters: America. I feel so blessed to live in a place that mean so much to so many people.

By Kyra WardWhen I look at the flag, I feel glory and pride in my country. When I stare into the stars, I see states standing proud over their country. In the white stripes I see God standing on clouds of silky white smiling. In the red stripes I see the ghosts of the soldierssaluting and our presidents standing proud. I feel thankful for the sacrifices they have made. When I look at the flag all together, I see my past and future standing before me and I am not afraid of what’s going to come. I know my beautiful flag will guide me through trouble and happiness.This morning I looked at the flag and I saw in the background the most beautiful mountains there ever were. It reminded me of the words in the song, “America the Beautiful,” – O’ and purple mountains majesty – I thought to myself about our special traits such as our arches, mountains, canyons and even just our little ant farms. I thought of all the natural resources our country has and it made me feel safe, loved, happy and free. That is what I feel when I look at the American flag.


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