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Negaunee Middle Schooler, Lily Saunders delivers award-winning Patriot Pen Essay

"Lily Saunders's Veterans Day essay is worth the read. I was honored to listen to her at today's Veterans Day celebration in Negaunee, Michigan, and sought out her family's permission to publish her speech. I hope we all can live by her words." – Dr. Bob Lorinser

NEGAUNEE, Mich. – The local Veterans of Foreign Wars posts and auxiliaries held an essay competition for the Patriot Pen awards. Dr. Bob was moved by the winning essay given by Lily Saunders.

Thank you, Lily for the inspiration.


How to be a Good American

by Patriot Pen Essay winner, Lily Saunders, Negaunee Middle School

Have you ever taken the time to think about all of the ways that you can be a good American? Being a good American can be different for everyone.

For some people, it can be studying America's history, or being active in America's political life. For others it could be as simple as following our laws. But for me, it's more than all of that.

For me, it is how I live my life. I will always stand for our flag no matter what our country is going through. I will place my hand over my heart for the national anthem. I will show gratitude and appreciation for those who have fought, and those who have died paying the ultimate sacrifice for our country. I will volunteer my time to help others, and help provide for the ones that are in need.

Being a good American is also about doing things when nobody is watching. I will live my life respecting America's values and beliefs. My family has always taught me to treat others with respect. Little did I know, they were also teaching me to be a good American at the same time.

Being a good American is doing the little things in our community. For instance, it is supporting our local school districts, buying from local businesses, and respecting our land. Something a lot of people don't pay attention to is being a good neighbor, but it is something that is very important. Being a good neighbor is something anybody can do, and most people don't realize how much of an impact a little bit of kindness can have: a friendly greeting, a warm smile or a hug to show someone you care.

So, next time you walk past someone that is struggling, help them out. And the next time you walk past an individual who has fought for our country in the past, or is still serving to this day, take a few moments to thank them for all that they do. Because after all, if they didn’t do what they do each and every day, or if they didn't risk their own lives to fight for all of us and our amazing country, America could be a whole different place.

So thank you, to all veterans here with us today.


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