Crookston High School seniors Anna Huck and Ben Brantner recently won “Citizenship” awards from the American Legion and have been recognized by local Post 20.
A speech was given with a series of short talks using the Legion’s six qualities including courage, honor, leadership, patriotism, scholarship and service.
Here is the speech:
“You are all familiar, in varying degrees, with the history of our country. You know that our way of life didn’t “just happen.” It is the product of work and an active interest on the part of good citizens from its beginning to the present.
The American Legion is an organization dedicated to the service of God and Country. We believe that one of the best ways to perform this service is to take an active interest in the preparation of our youth so that they will become patriotic, freedom-preserving citizens. It is in this interest that The American Legion School Awards Plan was born and is maintained on a National level through the Americanism Commission of The American Legion.
We want you, the citizens of the future, to realize that your democracy is in contact need of protection and improvement. The liberty, the rights, the duties we all enjoy are by no means perfect, nor is it likely that they will ever be perfect. I say this because these rights are the product of people like you and me. These people had ideas, gave them time and thought, talked them over with other people, and then acted to make them into rules of conduct. These we call laws. You know that some of these rules are being changed, new ones are being written, and you will add others. You will also change or amend some of the rules now in effect, which you will consider inadequate to the demands of your problems. This process is Liberty in motion. This is why we call democracy “a living thing.” It lives in the body and spirit of each and every one of us. The rights and duties are yours and mine. They are the property of all the people. They are the responsibility of all the people, as individuals and as groups.
What are you willing to do to get and keep the kind of world you really want? Are you willing to give time for thinking? Are you keeping the high purpose of Liberty in mind? Past Wars, and the times between them, indicate that such vigilance is fundamental if we are to attain and maintain a society of people governing themselves through their chosen representatives. Take an active part in choosing those to represent you and keep them informed of your dislikes and desires.
Let these six qualities be the stones of the foundation upon which you construct your lives. There is a law much older that any found on the books of our land…The Golden Rule…Use it as a basis for other rules of conduct you may see fit to set up.
Remember. Liberty and Democracy didn’t “just happen,” nor will it continue to grow or even exist without the thoughts and actions of every one of you.”