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What is the Flag Essay Contest?

The essay of no more than 300 words in length on "What the Flag Means To Me."


The Flag Essay Contest is open to all area 5th grade students who are U.S. citizens.

How Do I Compete?

The American Legion Fifth Grade Flag Essay Contest begins at the local level and continues through to District and State finals. Approximately 180-200 students participate yearly in the Marion Post #298 contest. The Flag Code Pamphlet is provided to all fifth grade students, whether participating in the writing contest or not, when the packet announcing the contest is provided to the school.  One winner is selected from each school: Linn Mar, Marion Independent, Marion Home School Offices and St. Joseph's School. One overall winner is forwarded to District competition. The 1st place winner in each of Iowa's 9 Districts advances to the State final. The top three finalists at State level will be asked to participate in the Department Convention Parade and read their essay at the 2013 Department Convention.

Each student participating is returned their essay and given a 4"x6" mounted desk top flag and a copy of the United States Flag Code. Each classroom represented is offered a 2'x3' indoor flag. Students writing winning essays are asked to read their essays to the class (or school assembly) in a brief awards ceremony. The six winning entries receive a certificate from Post #298 and a 3'x5' nylon outdoor flag. Winning essays are also printed in the Marion Times and Post 298 Newspapers.  One overall winner is selected and his or her essay is sent on to District competition.

Entry forms are distributed to the Fifth grade teachers of schools listed above in Mid November. Interested teachers may also contact Post #298 for more information.  Coordinator of the Flag Essay contest is Mr. Gerry Wegmann.

Entry forms are available at Post 298 in the late fall or through your school office.

District Prizes:  The 1st place award is $75 and a 3' X 5' Flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol on Veterans Day. 2nd place is awarded $50 and a 3' X 5' Flag that has been flown over the U.S. Capitol on Veterans Day, 3rd through 6th place recieve a $25 award'


What the Flag Means to Me.

The fifth grade students of Linn Mar and Marion School Districts, which includes Marion Home School and St. Joseph's Catholic School, recently had the opportunity to express their original and creative thoughts in writing as a personal response to that question. Compliments of Marion American Legion Post #298, a DVD titled "For Which It Stands" and a teaching aid "Let's Be Right on Flag Etiquette" are provided each school and a Flag Code pamphlet made available to each student. The guidelines for the writers were no more than 300 words, original composition, type-written and attached to an entry form. All participants and their teachers receive a 4" X 6" desktop flag.
We were pleased with the response of the students; we received 152 entries for the 2013 contest, which involved nine schools. Greatly appreciated are the fifth grade teachers who educate the youth about our nation's history and flag. Based on the quality of essays, the fifth grade classroom leaders deserve accolades for their thorough job in the education process.
A thank you is extended to our dedicated judges: Kathy Hughes representing the Auxiliary, Roger Norfolk and Gerry Wegmann for the Legion, and Michele Wegmann from the general public. Their responsibility was to identify the best writer from each participating school, and determine the most deserving of the individual school winners to advance to District level competition. The criteria utilized by the judges were originality, logic, facts/comprehension, and grammar/spelling.
The list of winners below will each receive a certificate, and 3 X 5 nylon flag. All school winner award presentations will take place at a special ceremony within each school, honoring the individual, and attended by their fellow classmates, teachers, administrators and often-times family members.

This year's winners and their schools are:

The one advancing to District is Vivian Hartwig from Echo Hill School. 141 total points. (2nd was Adrianna Segal from Westfield with 136 total points)

These are the winners from each school:

Echo Hill School 
Student writer: Vivian Hartwig 
Teacher: Ms. Bobbie Hugo 

What the Flag Means To Me

Have you ever thought about the American Flag and what it means to you? I have thought about that question. To me the flag symbolizes freedom and our military veterans.

In America we enjoy many freedoms. The flag is a symbol for those freedoms. Our freedoms include the right to go to school, to vote for our own leaders, to choose our own religion, and the freedom of speech. The freedoms of our citizens make America an amazing country. These freedoms have been protected by our nation's military members and veterans.

One veteran, Deborah Sampson, was an indentured servant for 10 years. After her ten years were over she was free, but what freedoms did she have? During the late 1700's women were expected to marry young. However, Deborah Sampson was in no hurry to marry. Instead, Sampson dressed in men's clothing and enlisted in the Continental Army to fight for freedom from the Kingdom of Great Britain.

Veterans and current military members have continued to fight for America's freedom. People join the military for the honor of serving their country and a sense of duty to help others. They are brave and sacrifice many things including time from their families and sometimes their lives. I am proud to be the daughter of two Air Force veterans who have served to protect our freedom.

The American flag is a symbol for freedom that we enjoy in this country. This freedom is only possible because of the sacrifices that our military members have made and still make. Think About it. What does the flag mean to you?


Westfield School 
Student writer: Adrianna Segal 
Teacher: Mrs. Jen Canby

[What the Flag Means to Me]

I was walking to school with 10 pages of homework in my rainbow backpack. I walked up the sidewalk. I looked up proudly. The school flag smiled as it swayed gracefully toward the school. It shines in the bright sun. The stripes and stars gleam enthusiastically. I knew right then and there that the flag means a lot to everyone. To me, the flag symbolizes freedom, pride, and remembrance.

First, the flag to me means freedom.A long time ago, there were slaves. Slaves were African Americans. They were taken and were told to farm, clean, and work. They were completely under their new owners. The slaves had no freedom for a long time. Today, we are lucky to be free and are able to do whatever we want whenever we want. The flag means freedom to me. There have been many wars in our history. Without all the men and women in our military, we would not have our freedom.

Second, the flag to me means pride.Everytime I see the flag it makes me proud to be an American. For example, all around North America there are many different people.Everyone should be proud because they have all helped make America great. America might not be the biggest country in the world but its heart is for sure.

Next, the flag to me means remembrance. The flag reminds me of the people who fought for America.Many of those people have died in the past.Even if people don't know much about the war you always should be thankful that soldiers have risked their lives to keep us safe in the United States.

In conclusion, the flag means a ton to everyone.Everyone should cherish and love the American flag.


Indian Creek School 
Student writer: Sophia Schultz 
Teacher: Mrs. Katie Meidlinger 


When I think of the flag, a diversity of things comes to mind. I think of the pain my ancestors and people before me had to suffer. I think of the freedom we have in this country. My Grandpa Steve served in the Army. He was morse code operator. My brother Max is currently in the Coast Guard Academy and will be graduating this year. He will be working on ships after he graduates and plans to serve for many years.

When I look up at the flag, I don't just think about how beautiful the flag is. I think of how lucky I am to be an American citizen. Unlike other countries, we have the freedom to vote, believe in our religions, and have our own opinions.

The flag also represents immigration and freedom. I know how lucky I am because just three generations ago my family was in Poland. When my Grandma Zofia was sixteen years old, she came to America with her little sister and she was forced to leave her parents behind. I think about, if I was in her footsteps, would I be able to make it to America with my little sister and leave my parents behind?

The truth is that when I look at the flag, Many things come to mind. It represents the freedom I have in this country and the hope that my Grandma Zofia had when she came to America. The flag is the most powerful symbol we have in America.


Linn Grove School 
Student writer: Madison Murray 
Teacher: Mr. Todd Walker 

What the American Flag means to me!

The American Flag means a lot of things. To me, whenever I see an American Flag it makes me feel cheerful and joyful. It makes me remember all of the soldiers that fought for our country, and it makes me happy to be free.

Whenever I see an American Flag, it makes me cheerful and joyful because every morning at school we look at the flag and say the "Pledge of Allegiance". After I say it, I feel proud and happy for respecting and honoring our troops.

Along with the many American Soldiers fighting for their lives, and our country today, the America Flag makes me also remember those who gave their lives for our country. They all are very brave and courageous for fighting for our country's freedom.

The American Flag makes me happy to be free because you can make your own choices, and be who you want to be. You can also voice your own opinion and everybody is treated equally.

Many people see the meaning of the American Flag in different ways. For me, it makes me proud to be an American, and think of all the men and women who gave their lives for our country's rights. Fighting for our freedom is hard work for our troops. Thank you for those who fight for us! I love you troops, there's no place that I would rather be! God bless the USA!!!


Marion Home School 
Student writer: Shanel Ann King 
Teacher: (supervising teacher) Mary Lehner

What the USA Flag Means to Me

When most people see an American flag it might bring the fourth of July or fighting in wars to their minds. But, when I see our flag, it makes me think of my grandma!

She has loved red, white, and blue her whole life. She has American flag car magnets, outdoor lights, clothes, and home décor. Grandpa was in the army and they were stationed in Hawaii. Grandma has cancer to; it's in remission right now. I hope it stays in remission. Her cancer has made it hard to do the things she loves; like shopping at garage sales with me, going down to her pond to feed the fish, camping, and hanging laundry on the clothesline.

Each part of our flag means something special. The thirteen stripes represent the thirteen British colonies. The seven red stripes remind us that people died in the war. The six white stripes symbolize purity. The fifty stars stand for the fifty states. The blue around the stars portrays justice and freedom. The most important characteristics of America are described by our flag.

My grandma and I love our flag and we love being citizens of the United States of America!


Novak School 
Student writer: Piper Mcmann 
Teacher: Mrs. Andrea Hutchinson

What The American Flag Means To Me

When I see the American flag I think of the Pledge of Allegiance. When they fly the flag that means they care about America. If they want to put up another flag with the American flag they will put the other flag under the American flag. I think that it is really good that schools are doing the Pledge of Allegiance. Some of my family members can't believe that schools are still doing this. I like that at ball games they do the National Anthem before the game. I especially think of the people who served in the military on the Fourth of July. My dad served in the Air Force for our country.

The history of the American flag is a really fun thing to write about or to talk about with friends and family. The flag has fifty stars and 13 stripes because there is 50 states and 13 colonies. I think it's cool Betsy Ross made the first flag. The flag is something I like to think about and the flag means a lot to me and it should mean a lot to you too.


Saint Joseph School 
Student writer: Alex Herting 
Teacher: Mrs. Dee Hamlett

"What the U.S.A. Flag Means to Me"

The U.S.A. flag means a lot of different things to me. It means that we have freedom. It reminds me of the National Anthem. It reminds me of the Revolutionary War, our first president George Washington, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

The flag reminds me of freedom because when we won the war we could speak out, disagree with a law and march all over town. It reminds me of the National Anthem because at every sports game they sing the National Anthem with a flag on a big screen or in the middle of the field. To show respect for the flag you must take off your hat. The flag reminds me of the Revolutionary War because the people had the flag standing while the war was going on. It reminds me of George Washington because he was the fearless leader of the weak colonists against the strong British and did not give up. The U.S.A. flag reminds me of the Pledge of Allegiance because we say it every day in school while looking at the flag.

It is an honor to put up the flag once a week at school. I remember to put the flag up fast and not slow. I also know you must not goof around with the flag and to not let it touch the ground. I must carry the flag in a respectful way to honor our country.

As a fifth grade student the U.S.A. flag has become an important part of my life because it stands for many things that make my life better. Because the colonists won the Revolutionary War we have freedom. I am lucky to live in the U.S.A. where I have all of my freedoms.


Wilkins School 
Student writer: Natalie Dalton 
Teacher: Mrs. Sara Hofer

What the flag means to me...

When I think about the flag, I think of all the people who fought for us and are still fighting for us. I do not only think about the soldiers though, I think about the nurses and doctors helping the wounded soldiers back to health. Think of how brave those soldiers, nurses, and doctors had to be. As I look at the flag I also imagine about how many people served for our freedom and all of the people that died fighting for us. Although I think about that a lot I also think about how far we have come from those times. I believe that the flag is a very important to our country because it is a symbol of our freedom, our rights, and to me our greatest heros.




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                We Shall Never Forget!



President Abraham Lincoln as stated in the Gettysburg Address

 "From these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the 
last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain."

22 November, 2014   Last update