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Our American heritage and our responsibility to preserve it

Imagine a world without the United States of America. There wouldn't be any fast food chains, baseball games, Advanced Placement U.S. History classes, or even an American flag. I don't really like the appearance of this picture, but unfortunately, this will be the picture many years from now if we fail to preserve our American Heritage.

Why should we preserve our American Heritage? In reverence to the many struggles that our ancestors overcame, we should feel obligated to recognize their contributions to this great country. Our great soldiers fought against our mother country, Great Britain, so that the future generations could live and prosper in a society free from monarchy in the American Revolution. In the Civil War, thousands of brave men died to keep the United States of America "united." During a time of deprivation and sadness, Franklin Deleanor Roosevelt, along with the assistance of many men and women, persevered through the Great Depression to pull our country out of an economic slump and reformed several policies to bring us back to prosperity.

Without the aid of the leaders of the past, America would not be the strong nation that it is today, therefore it is our duty to recognize our heritage. We should also preserve our heritage because it will strengthen and renew our patriotism towards to the United States. Knowing where we come from will build a sense of appreciation amongst citizens. We will continue to express our pride in the nation.

Because there are several elements of our heritage as Americans, there are also numerous ways in which we can preserve it. America has always been a melting pot of many different cultures. We are rich with historical contributors that have impacted the entire world. We learn about these great people when we take classes such as U.S. History, American Government, and American Literature. We learn that Dr. Martin Luther King, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and other activists initiated the struggles for equal rights for all citizens. We learn that Stephen Crane revolutionized writing and literature by utilizing realism and naturalism in his novels, many of which described the American Civil War. And we also learn that Alexander Hamilton and James Madison and many others of our Founding Fathers brilliantly envisioned and developed a form of limited federal republican democracy that has withstood almost 230 years. In addition to informing people of our heritage in the classroom, we also promote education through the funding of museums, cultural centers and state parks. We watch reenactments of battles and the first Thanksgiving day feast. We even excavate lands and renovate landmarks so that we can further explore different alleys of our history.

Today, I am actively preserving my American Heritage through my participation in historically oriented organizations. Through my work on the Watson Brown Foundation Junior Board I have been enabled to contribute to the preservation and conservation of heritage locally within the CSRA and the state of Georgia. This past year, I and other members of the board decided to donate a portion of our funds to the conservation of a flag from the Jefferson Riflemen of 1842. The flag represents the soldiers within Jefferson County and is believed to be the oldest banner produced from the state of Georgia. It will even be displayed in the state Capitol Building. We also decided to fund the preservation of the headstones in the cemetery of Wrightsboro Church, located in the historic Wrightsboro community, one of the founding locations of McDuffie County. Lastly, we were able to initiate the renovation of the Knox Theater in Warren County by providing funds for their feaibility study. Once the project is completed, it will foster an even greater sense of community pride within Warrenton. Citizens of the county will have their own historic landmark to treasure. Not only has my work on the Jr. Board enabled me to fulfill my duties to the preservation of American heritage, my volunteer efforts at the Tubman Museum of African American Art has allowed me to teach young people about African-American history throughout the city of Macon, Ga. I got the chance to participate in tours and several activities to enhance the knowledge of our youth.

Although preserving the heritage of America may seem to be a daunting task, it is fairly simple. Just by standing for the pledge and singing the National Anthem, we recognize where and who we come from, and we promote positive reflections of our heritage and good examples of patriotism for everyone. Hopefully, through showing our appreciation for our ancestors and educating others, we won't be forced to picture the world with no America in the future.

Thomson High School student Jessica Bell penned this essay for the DAR Good Citizen Contest. She won for McDuffie County.

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Web posted on Thursday, February 10, 2005











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