Lauren Fay receives her award certificate and an American Flag flown over the US Capitol at the NYS VFW District 7 Annual meeting on May 5th.  Pictured from left to right are VFW Post 26 1st Vice Commander Floyd Watkins, Lauren Fay and VFW Post 26 Commander Mike Falk. Photo by Anne Fay

Local student Lauren Fay recently won the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) District 7 Patriots Pen Award. She received second place at the Kenneth B. Keating VFW Post 26 competition, 1st place at the NYS VFW District 7 competition and second place at the VFW Department of NY.

Following is her essay.

“When I was younger, I didn’t quite understand it. I thought America was nice but didn’t realize how many people worked hard to get us here. As I get older though I’m beginning to realize just how great America is. We’ve had our setbacks and hardships, we aren’t perfect, but we are trying and progressing. America has shown me and is continuing to show me how to persist and have a good work ethic. People have sacrificed so much to get us here. My father was in the army, fought in Iraq and helped with 9/11. He has helped show me what America is about. Being American means you persist, have work ethic and so much more. It’s about helping others. Even after he stopped serving the country as a soldier he chose to continue serving as a police officer. People had to be selfless and intelligent to get us here. So many people have sacrificed themselves so that America can be a safe place. People chose to go to war, become a police officer, doctor, and more. Others serve in different ways, for example my mother serves the country by educating the next generation as a teacher and being an amazing mom. Even though my mother isn’t on the front lines or working as a doctor, she is helping in a way just as important for America. People understand the risk and the hardships they will go through, and still do it anyway.”

“America has inspired me to be kind and selfless, to have work ethic and persistence because I realize it is what others before me did to bring us here. These values can play a big part in people’s lives. For instance, I always try to strive to get better grades in school and be nice to others around me.”

“America was built not found. It was built upon the foundation made two hundred years ago and is still growing. We must keep persisting and sacrificing to become even better. That drive is what sets us apart from the other countries, the fact that one patriotic person can make our country better. We are willing to go the extra mile and sacrifice for the greater good. This was taught to me by relatives, teachers, and coaches. America has inspired me to be the best version of myself by persisting, being kind, selfless, and having a work ethic.”

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