The 2010 winning Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen’s Award essay

By Madison Beall

“Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light…” These words, taken from the “Star Spangled Banner,” are sung by Americans at hundreds of sporting events each year. Francis Scott Key composed this song while watching a battle of the Revolutionary War. Little did he know that this tribute would later influence an independent America for centuries to come. The United States of America, unlike most countries, is a country with a significant past and an even more important future.
The founding fathers of America had a great feat to accomplish while creating the Constitution. Their goal was to protect the rights of individuals so that America would be a democracy. John Adams, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison are only a portion of the men who set the foundation for our country today. Their focus on the rights of life, liberty, and property has caused America to be a land of opportunity. On July 4, 1776, America was established independent from Britain. Since then, apart from one civil war, America has been a country that continues to let its citizens flourish in success and achievement. For over a century, slavery has been nonexistent. Everyone over the age of 18 has the right to vote. Citizens can enter and exit the country freely. Women are treated equally with men. These are just a few rights Americans enjoy. This country is extremely diverse, and a countless number of people are waiting outside our borders so that they can add to this multiculturalism. Last year, Barack Obama became the first African American president. Our country is overflowing with chances for its people to follow their dreams.
American people have an extremely high sense of political efficacy. Americans take pride in their country and feel that they have the power to influence its government. Americans should serve others with compassion and selflessness, for the good of the nation. We need to salute the flag with reverence and a sense of honor. Citizens should be familiar with the country’s history by passing history classes throughout their education, traveling to the capital, and visiting important landmarks. America is a home to be proud of, and its past is what defines the privilege of living in this country.
“…For the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Concluding the “Star Spangled Banner,” Key’s idea of American independence holds true today, two centuries later. It is vital for Americans to remember their country’s history, so that the same principles the founders deemed important can continue to allow our country to thrive today.

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