EDITOR'S NOTE: Below is the winning entry for the Good Citizen Essay Contest of the Daughters of the American Revolution, written by Jackson Reddick, a senior at Thomson High School. Students were timed as they wrote on an impromptu topic. This year's theme was "Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility to Preserve It."
By JACKSON REDDICK
One of the greatest challenges that we face in America today is preserving our history and heritage. These qualities are a great part of America and the backbone of our entire society.
The first challenge we face in preserving our history today is the natural elements of the world, such as rain, water and fire. Our historical sites and monuments are slowly being weathered away by mother nature. They also encounter some type of physical abuse from humans, whether it is graffiti or the taking of relics from sites, such as pieces of buildings and monuments. They all can be destroyed by the natural elements of the world, as well as by ourselves. If we do not take better care of them, they could eventually perish.
The second challenge is getting people involved in history and to volunteer or work to preserve our historical elements. People have begun to lose interest in the past, our phenomenal history, and their heritage. They have become more fixated on the present and future times. American citizens have slowed down on visiting historical sites, monuments and reenactment sites, and have begun to travel to Disney World and other amusement parks instead.
Our heritage is another thing that we as Americans have lost. We no longer know all of our history, where we came from, or what our ancestors did. If anyone over the age of 70 were to be asked what their heritage was, they most likely could tell you. However, if that same question was to be asked to people under the age of 40, most would be unable to answer. As generations of people have come and gone, so has their American heritage.
Our history and heritage is what created America and if that is forgotten or destroyed, then we will no longer be considered as Americans. It is our responsibility to preserve and protect our country, history and heritage.