by Nichole Cummings
Payson Center for Success
"Service," as Webster defines it, "is the performance of official or professional duties." As citizens of this great nation, it is our right and responsibility to serve this country. Documents, such as the Constitution and Bill of Rights, clearly state the duties and requirements of an American citizen. Service to our nation begins in our own homes and evolves into our society.
We can begin making a difference in our country by starting in our own communities. Even small towns offer volunteer programs to aid the elderly, work with small children, and guide members of abusive families. By first making an effort in our own communities we have the ability to take stronger steps in the betterment of our country.
By making simple attempts we can contribute to the improvement of America. High school kids who manage to stay in school and continue their education are obviously taking the necessary steps to become the great citizens they have the potential to be. Many of these students turn out to be doctors or specialized surgeons who help thousands of their fellow citizens each year. By simply not becoming a menace to society we serve our country.
Parents of today's youth can make very significant influences on our nation's future. Every parent has the responsibility of raising children with a sense of morals, dedication, and hopefully more than a hint of patriotism. If our future were in the hands of children raised in hate and that have a blatant disregard for life, what kind of country would we live in? Even jobs that seem insignificant, like parenting, can have influence on the lives of thousands of citizens.
It is the unsung heroes of the nation that truly make a difference in our lives. Most people feel that if you do not possess political power or outrageous amounts of money, you are virtually insignificant in the influences of this nation. How untrue that is! A parent probably has the most influence over our country. It is they that decide our future with the manner in which they raise their children. A child raised to be a ruthless killer may turn out to be a future president. Then how will our country fare? By instilling such things as morals and patriotism into our children, we serve our country. Preventing menaces to society such as repeating juvenile offenders, drug abusers, and sex offenders saves all of us time and precious taxpayer dollars.
The voters of tomorrow serve this country by exercising their constitutional rights. What if no one voted? In the hunger for more political power, greedy government officials would fight whatever stood in their way of gaining more influence. Without citizens exercising their right to vote, what kind of government would we have? We would most likely end up with a dictatorship or oligarchy. The hard work and dedication of our founding fathers would be lost forever. With the upbringing of responsible, patriotic citizens we serve America.
Undeniably, one of the most valued services to this country are those citizens who have the strength and courage to enter the military. Young men and women from all over the nation fight in foreign countries, endure harsh weather, food shortages, and loss of dear friends to ensure the rights and freedoms of American citizens today. Many willingly give their lives to protect our homes, our rights, and most importantly, our lives. Without these courageous souls where would we be today?
As a youth of modern day America, it is my service to the nation to continue my education. By graduating high school and making a career for myself, I can ensure that I will not have to rely on my fellow citizens' tax dollars to support me. It is my duty and honor to serve the community that surrounds me. From aiding the elderly to helping young children, every small deed makes a difference. As a future parent of a generation yet to come, it is my responsibility to raise productive members of society. By contributing to my education, community, and children of the future I serve America.
This essay by Nichole Cummings won the local and district contests for the Veterans of Foreign Wars' essay competition, "Voice of Democracy." Her essay placed fifth in the state competition, for which she won a $200 savings bond. She won a $100 savings bond for winning the district contest and a $150 savings bond for placing first in the Payson post's contest.