Sixth grade students honor veterans with Patriot's Pen submissions

Sixth grade English and Language Arts (ELA) teachers Ginger Colvin and Debbie Motley at Daniel Island School work with their students to submit essays in the Patriot’s Pen Contest each year. The contest is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the U.S. and this year’s program challenged students to answer the question, “What makes America great?”

“Dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of America, the VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions help foster patriotism among today’s youth,” the organization’s website states.

The winner from each state receives an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C., where the top national prize of a $30,000 scholarship is awarded. More than 40,000 students competed in last year’s competition.

Enjoy a few excerpts from DIS students’ submissions:


Throughout history, American citizens have given their lives for our country. On D-Day in 1944, over 6,000 American soldiers died sacrificing their lives for our country. Many more soldiers died in this battle than lived. These young men gave up their families, friends, and everything they knew to fight in a catastrophic war. These young men were inspired to protect our values, culture, and freedom. In just one year (2018), over 6,900 American Soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting the war against terrorism. These brave men and women are still sacrificing their lives and time with their families to protect us. I believe that we need to recognize our past and present soldiers more often than just on Veterans Day and Memorial Day.


My Aunt Patti made a massive sacrifice to support our country. My aunt worked in the Navy as a nurse, and had to go to Iraq to help the soldiers recover from battle wounds during the Persian Gulf War. I can’t even imagine the courage she had, to help the soldiers during battle. She was willing to spill blood, to heal the soldiers of our country. My aunt, and many others who have bravery like her, make America great.


The spirit of America encourages many U.S. citizens to enroll in the military. People put their lives at risk when enrolling in the military. My friend’s parents are both in the military, and they have had to move all over the country every couple of years to serve the military in different ways and in different places. Serving in the military is hard on military families because their lives are at risk and each military mission brings uncertainties. I admire the heart of my military friends because they are risking their lives to keep everyone safe and to honor the American flag.


America’s Armed Forces protect our country, our religion, our freedom, and our way of life. Millions of Americans have served and died during wars fighting for those who cannot. They protect our law enforcement and do rescue missions. My father felt the need to answer this call of duty, his time to serve. He was a Marine during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. This was just after a group of terrorists attacked America in what is known as 9/11. The Marine Corps is the front-line fighting force for America, capable of responding to any threat in the world within 24 hours notice. The armed forces protect the people of America.


I am thankful and blessed with all the great things our country has to offer — education, freedom, generosity, and opportunity. Not all citizens in other countries are as fortunate. I was born in Switzerland and lived there until I was 5 years old. My father is from Spain. Coming from a different country, but still fitting in as a citizen of the United States, makes me proud to call this country home.


As Americans, we work together in times of tragedy such as terrorist attacks. In the aftermath of 9/11, America worked together to save part of our country during this attack. On September 11, 2001, terrorists from the Al Qaeda group attacked the United States by crashing planes into important buildings. Right away, Americans ran into the buildings and risked their lives to save people. These heroes saved as many people as they could before their time was over. Our country is made up of many people that work together to save America, which is why we are such a great country.


In America, we have so many freedoms that other countries do not have. We have freedom of speech, religion, press, and we have the right to bear arms. We can stand up against things that we think are wrong, and we can vote for our leaders. This makes America great because we are not controlled by a powerful government. Our great president, Abraham Lincoln, said: “That government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”


In America, citizens are willing to sacrifice their lives for their country’s beliefs and for the people of America. Mr. Matt has been my dad’s friend for over 20 years. He serves in the Army and has been working to protect us by being in other countries, such as Afghanistan, for most of his children’s lives. He does it to protect them and their futures, and mine, too. Every person fighting for our country is brave and bold every day, knowing that every little thing they do is helping America become even better than it already is.


America “has been recognized as the strongest military in the world” according to Global Firepower. As a citizen of this great country, I feel safe. One, because of our Navy, Army, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard protecting our nation from other countries. “America without her soldiers would be like God without His angels,” Claudia Pemberton once stated. American armed troops work around the world protecting our freedoms. Our everyday freedoms are protected by policemen and firefighters. In some countries kids can’t safely go outside and play. I feel safe to play outside because of American policemen who protect us. In America we don’t worry about the terrible threats that people in other nations experience because we have protection.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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