2013 Freedom Celebration Essay Contest

Congratulations to the 2013 Winners!

Kathryn Linford & Kesley Wilde

Thanks again to all of the entrants. The essays this year were excellent. Below are the winning essays for your reading pleasure.


By Kesley Wilde

Essay contest winner Kesley Wilde accepts a commemorative U.S. flag that was flown over the Idaho State Capitol.

Essay contest winner Kesley Wilde accepts a commemorative U.S. flag that was flown over the Idaho State Capitol.

Patriotism.  Pa-tri-ot-ism. A four syllable noun that means devoted love, support and defense of one’s country; national loyalty.  But is that all that is means?  Is that the only definition?  That is the definition, but it is not all that patriotism stands for.  Patriotism can be shown in many different ways.


I have a neighbor that is a veteran.  He just returned home from his fifth and last tour of duty.  When he came home, everyone came out of their houses and line the streets with flags and posters that they had made as a family.  Some people from other neighborhoods came also and helped line the street.  One of the people there handed out red, white and blue necklaces for people to wear.  WE had enough people to line up the whole street.  There were enough flags, necklaces, and posters to make a red, white and blue street.  It was so cool to see him arrive home in his uniform.  He held his hand out of the car to give people high-fives and read all of the posters we made for him.  This is patriotism.


Families who send their mothers and father to war give a lot of support to the American army.  They send encouraging letter and wish them safety.  They can’t wait for them to come home but excited that they have a family member supporting the Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, and Marines.  They support and give all that they can.  This is patriotism.


I read about an Air Force radar repairman.  He told about his enemy’s first attack on him.  He compares it to his childhood and playing hide-and-go-seek with his friends, sitting in the dark trying to not make any noise.  But there were no friendly neighbors around; there were only people who were searching for his destruction.  To me it is a big sign of patriotism that he could sit through the horrible thought of being killed, and the wonderful thought of doing it for his country or defending his country.  That is patriotism.


In my class, I read a story about Clara Barton, nicknamed “the angel of the battlefield”.  She got this nickname because she was always out on the battlefield helping injured soldiers in the Civil War.  She collected supplies for the soldiers for over a year and supplied them with food, blankets, and clothing.

After the war people came to her and asked her if she could find missing soldiers.  Then she brought Red Cross to America and was president of the American Red Cross until she retired in 1904.  She always was loyal and dedicated to helping others.


United We Stand. Divided We Fall.”

By Kathryn Linford

Kathryn Linford reads her winning essay to thousands of people at the 2013 Melaleuca Freedom Celebration.

Kathryn Linford reads her winning essay to thousands of people at the 2013 Melaleuca Freedom Celebration.

“United we stand.  Divided we fall.”  It is such a straightforward and simple phrase, that even, Aesop, to whom this phrase is credited, a slave who lived two and a half thousand years ago, could recognize the valuable principle it teaches and the importance of sharing this belief.  It is understandable why it has always been a well-known expression.  It holds significant wisdom in just six plain words that can easily be comprehended.  United, we are more powerful than we could ever have been on our own.

“United we stand.  Divided we fall.”  There is a reason that our country is identified as The United States of America.  As separate states, cities and communities, we are feeble and frail compare to the strength we have when we stand together as American citizens.  This has been demonstrated countless times in American history.  For example, against England the colonies were weak when they tried to stand alone, separately they fell every time.  The colonies became great when they united as one for the birth of our nation in 1776 and again to win the Revolutionary War seven years later.

Unfortunately, Americans forgot this principle and in 1861 when we parted at the beginning of the Civil War.  The United States was thrown into chaos because we became divided, and our country began to take a nosedive into the bottomless pit we had created ourselves.  America began to collapse and rip at the seams when neighbor fought neighbor, friend brawled friend, and brother battles brother.  The Civil War resulted in hundreds of thousands of horrible fatalities.  Each death still serves as a reminder of how much our States depend on each other, then and now, and why we must be united in order to stand.

In 1929, The United States of America faced a different kind of challenge at a level we could have never expected.  The Great Depression, followed by a horrible and prolonged drought, left our citizens bankrupt, hungry and feeling hopeless.  No matter how hard we tried, there appeared to be no light at the end of the tunnel.  As a nation we realized that we had to pull together for any possibility of recovery.  We became joined as one when we gave to one another what little we could spare.  This unity became our greatest defense in World War 2.

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was bombed.  It was a tragedy we could have never imagined, yet The United States entered the Second World War united as one.  Our men stood together on the battlefields, and our women joined in the factories.  Our country was more unified than ever before in the common cause of freedom.  America’s death count was more than four hundred thousand, but we know the blood of each of those soldiers bought liberty for not only our nation, but the world.

One of the greatest demonstrations of the importance of unity was on September 11, 2001, an unforgettable and unbelievable event that shocked our country and left all Americans heartbroken.  Without being asked our citizens joined together to volunteer in New York and Washington, D.C. to help aid the rescue efforts and to comfort the devastated families.  Donations of money and supplies poured in.  Immediately the support we had for one another was noticeable as our flag was raised in yard and businesses across the nation that day.

That same flat that we pledge our allegiance to is raised as a witness of our unity and loyalty to fellow Americans and our nation, The United Stated of America.  To me, the phase “United we stand.  Divided we fall” means that our country would crumble to pieces as divided states, cities and communities.  But as we unite in the cause of freedom, together we can stand with more strength than we could have ever done separately.  It is my hope we never forget that “United we stand.  Divided we fall”.


Pretty schoolgirl  in classroom.Since our annual Independence Day celebration is right around the corner, what better way to remember America’s heroes than by putting pen to paper and honoring them with your words?

You could win a $500 scholarship!

The 2013 Melaleuca Freedom Celebration essay contest, Remembering America’s Heroes, gives grade school kids throughout Southeast Idaho with a chance to submit their best ideas to the contest. Every year, two lucky winners are selected. One winner comes from the kindergarten-to-sixth grade category; the other winner comes from the seventh-to-twelfth grade category.

Hurry! All essays are due by June 26, 2013.

Choose One Topic:

  • Why is an Unknown Soldier such a powerful symbol for our country?
  • How can people oppose a conflict and still pay tribute to the service of veterans?
  • What is patriotism?
  • What are some of the freedoms you enjoy because of veterans?
  • Explain the saying, “United we stand. Divided we fall.” What does it mean to you?

Each winner will receive:

  • $500 scholarship
  • Winners announced in the Idaho Falls Post Register
  • Essay read over the air on several popular radio stations
  • Live on-stage recognition at the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration on July 4
  • A family 4-pack of tickets to the Melaleuca Freedom Celebration (valued at $100)
  • Essay published on www.FreedomCelebration.com

Entries should be typed or neatly handwritten and submitted by email to essay@freedomcelebration.com or by mail to:

Remembering America’s Heroes Essay Contest
3910 S. Yellowstone Hwy
Idaho Falls, ID 83402


The deadline is June 26, 2013 so start writing now!

OFFICIAL RULES: Essay Contest is open to legal residents of the United States who reside in Southeast Idaho and who are enrolled in grades K–12 as of May 21, 2013. Essay should be neatly handwritten or typed and between 250 and 1,500 words. All entries must be received by June 26, 2013 and must include a cover sheet that lists your name, address, phone number, school, and grade and that is signed by you and your parents. A panel will judge two categories: one for grades K–6 and one for grades 7–12. One winner will be selected for each category. Submit entries by email to essay@freedomcelebration.com or mail to Remembering America’s Heroes Essay Contest, 3910 S. Yellowstone Hwy, Idaho Falls, ID 83402