Archived Story

Craig Zebell’s winning DAR essay

Published 9:32pm Monday, March 12, 2012

I am inspired by the heart and determination of fellow American men and women who have given their lives so that I may be free today.
Because of them, I don’t have to wake up in the morning and fear for my life; because of them, I am able to have freedoms such as religion, speech, press and the right to peacefully assemble.
I owe a lot to these people, even my own life, because of their sacrifice for me and our great country.
Our American heritage is rich, and it must continue to be preserved, not only for what it means to us, but also for what it means to visitors from faraway places.
Our heritage is preserved as we continue to sing patriotic songs and observe historic dates with knowledge of their origin.
Javier, an exchange student from Mallorca who lived with my family for a year, and Nils, an exchange student friend from Germany, marveled at the patriotism of Americans.
They said their countries had nothing like the patriotism here. When they traveled East with my family to visit the site where the 9/11 tragedy occurred, they were “amazed” by the patriotic displays of flags, not just in New York City, but also in small suburban towns outside of New York.
They loved our pride in our country.
Hearing them talk was humbling as it increased my pride for the land I love, the land I am proud to live in America, the land I call home.
America is still the land of opportunity, a land of inspiration.
While I was helping to build a school in Africa this summer, I was often asked with wonder about the fact that a man with an African background had become the president in this country. It was a great inspiration to these students and gave them hope that they, too, could achieve something great.
These children live in a country where education is not mandatory. These children had never held a book in their lives. In America, education is mandatory and organizations like DAR are working towards literacy to help people realize their dreams. Reading allows people to learn about our priceless American heritage.
I am grateful for what I have learned about our American heritage through my history classes over the years. I commend the teachers’ efforts to communicate about the birth and development of our nation.
My family has made it a value to visit such historic sites as Plymouth Rock and the presidential birthplaces, homes and libraries.
While not everyone can travel, they can read about these sites, and the existence and maintenance of such places is essential to keep our nation’s heritage alive.
Each generation has a responsibility to preserve this heritage by passing it on to the next generation.
I have the responsibility to pass this heritage on to my children and grandchildren when I grow old. I am proud to be an American. God bless America, my home sweet home.

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