B'ville student's patriotic essay advances nationally

Spencer Ladd, an eighth grader at Durgee Junior High, emits a certain pride in his country. The young man recently had an opportunity to put his feelings into words, thanks to the Liverpool Elks Lodge.

Every year the Elks conduct a national Americanism essay contest for students in fifth through eighth grades, in which the students must compose an essay based on a patriotic theme. Students are divided into two judging categories -- fifth and sixth graders and seventh and eighth graders -- and given the expected theme of essays. This year's was "What is an American?"

Ladd's teacher Tim Morgan assigned the essay contest to his students and those who participated were able to earn extra credit.

Ladd's essay took first place at Liverpool Lodge, the district level (consisting of lodges from Syracuse, Oswego, Auburn, Fulton, Liverpool and Camillus) and the state level. He is now waiting for judging at the national level. Should his essay win at the national level, it will be displayed at the Elks National Convention in Anaheim, California.

Either way, Spencer will read his essay during a Flag Day Celebration at 6 p.m. Saturday June 14 at the War Memorial, a ceremony that is open to the public.

Spencer Ladd's essay follows.

What is an American?

I'm Spencer Ladd, I'm an American

It's about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, democracy and freedom. It's about our American Flag that not only flies all over our country, but wraps our fallen heroes in love and is draped in honor over their caskets. It's about our young fellow men and women who died so America would be free. Being an American means understanding the concept of the melting pot and the salad bowl and the different backgrounds of many in our great country. It means respecting the opinion of others with whom I may disagree. It means flying the flag and knowing the words to the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance and having pride when I hear them.

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