Junior Jonathan Bryan Wins VFW Oral Essay Contest


Shelby Watkins, Feature Editor

Junior Jonathan Bryan, a student at Coffee County Central High School, chose to vocalize his American pride in The Voice of Democracy essay contest sponsored by the local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign War (VFW).

In an essay contest designed for students to declare their ideas on “What Makes America Great,” Bryan’s essay stood out among the rest. His dedication to his pride in America astounded the judges.

He won first place at the post level for his speech and will begin to compete in other advanced divisions.

For future participants, he advises students to remember the “…contributions of veterans to the safeguard of American liberties.”

Bryan’s essay was focused on America’s roots: hope, growth and Christian values.

See Jonathan’s essay below:

Two events, separated vastly by time and place, have the ability to spark independence and reject tyrannical rule. In the midst of the 18th century, Great Britain’s taxation of the American colonists motivates them to escape their powerless relationship. In the modern day, China’s encroachment on the autonomy of Hong Kong spurs them to escape their powerless relationship. Flying the American flag and singing the National Anthem, the people of Hong Kong are requesting America’s assistance. To establish unyielding democracy in the face of corruption and persecution: this duty undoubtedly sponsors every admirable quality America expresses. From the United States’s origins to the present, the country resides as a manifestation of hope, and an experimentation of democracy, and a federation of progress. As “we hold these Truths to be self-evident,” they rest on a cornerstone infused with the belief in the sovereignty of the individual, sustaining the numerous aspects composing America’s magnanimity.

Throughout the controversial history of the United States, the country surrogates a beacon, shining the proposition of safe haven for all to witness. For more than one reason, the Hong Kong protestors and their plea to America depict a vivid illustration of America’s capability to exist both as justice to the wronged and retribution to the oppressor. Coming from tyrannical countries or starving communities, many immigrants move to America in order to gain something in life that they previously lacked. Even if their dream cannot immediately be obtained, America provides the opportunity to realize their aspirations. With that in mind, the possibility to pursue and achieve one’s goals arises in America due to the principles uniting the country.

Venturing into a unique system, the founding fathers turn towards their roots in Judeo-Christian values, divining that “God created mankind in his own image.” Comparing the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizens of 1789 to the Constitution, the Constitution establishes the intrinsic value of the individual higher than the interests of society. Following that line of logic, the founders initiate a democracy, ensuring the inalienable rights of each person. Unlike many other countries, the United States does not give the people their rights, but America prevents itself from encroaching on certain areas of civil life. Going hand-in-hand, the capitalist economy works with the Constitution to establish a functional society. Not discouraging the free trade of laissez-faire economics, the Constitution protects the ability to engage in consensual trade. Described in the pareto distribution, a vast disparity in wealth exists with a few people having most and most having less.  By the underlying logic of the Gestalt saying, “The sum of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” America’s capitalism combats this problem through the encouragement of innovation. Along with that, America’s roots lay in the formation of strong communities. Supporting religious and charitable institutions, societal problems can be mitigated through individual and communal action. Applying some of the tenets of Judeo-Christian culture guides America towards progress.

In the course of America’s history, the country adapts to changes and seeks to improve the surrounding world. Even in divisive times, Americans have been unified in one dream: bettering America. Having a system to amend the Constitution, Americans follow these avenues to mass change. With this method at their disposal, Americans can always continue to rise above past mistakes. On the world stage, the endeavor by America to spread capitalism pulls countries out of extreme poverty and provides aid. Additionally, America’s substantial effort to establish and support democracy across the world has brought greater freedom. From these aspects of America’s development, America aspires to make change easier and effectively through reform.

With America’s adversarial position to tyranny, the country continues to motivate those like Hong Kong to pursue democracy. America’s economic mobility and its ideals garner the faith of others. Seeing the value of the individual, the founding fathers allowed the Constitution to shape democracy. America’s propensity to adapt and apply its values in order to solve social issues is unrivaled. Characterized as a miracle, America implements its fundamental truths through democracy as a harbinger of hope and progress.