Contributed Photo: Alisha and Robert Montierth congratulate their daughter, Lauren, (center) at the recent DAR Constitution Week program held at the Safford City-Graham County Library.
Contributed Article/Courtesy DAR
SAFFORD – This is the 6th year the local Daughters of the American Revolution Gila Valley Chapter has offered a $500 scholarship in September to the first-place winner of their DAR Patriotic Essay Contest. Any student at Safford and Thatcher High Schools or those homeschooled on the high school level, who are dual-enrolled in general education courses at EAC, can enter this contest by submitting a patriotic essay. The essay topic for this fall was “How the U.S. Constitution affects my life, my liberty, and my pursuit of happiness.”
This year, the winning essay written by Lauren Montierth, begins with an opportunity, a few years ago, for her to visit our nation’s capital in Washington, D.C. She writes, “Beautiful cherry blossom petals lined the streets and filled the air with a sweet aroma. Dozens of must-see monuments and museums were on every corner. But perhaps the most memorable part of this experience was viewing the original copy of our Constitution, encased in glass and guarded by soldiers. The Constitution deserves to be protected and respected because it outlines the fundamental rights and privileges of an American citizen.”
She continues on to mention the importance of the first 10 of the 27 amendments, the Bill of Rights. “The Bill of Rights works hand in hand with the Constitution to provide checks and balances, so the federal government does not hold all power. It affects my liberty because it places government controls so the American people and states also have a voice. My life is significantly impacted and improved by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. These documents ensure everyone has an equally important voice. Amendments ratified after the Bill of Rights provide more freedom for a larger group of people. As a woman, the 19th amendment will have a significant impact on my life. I will have the chance to elect government officials, something not all women have the chance to do. Voting will help me pursue a future guided by the official I choose.”
“As a high school and college student, I have taken many classes studying countries’ past and present policies. Some foreign governments control every aspect of one’s life, completely disregarding fundamental human rights. People are treated as objects and live in fear daily. Just imagining what other countries have to go through brings tears to my eyes, which is why the Constitution was created. Our Founding Fathers noticed their past government was corrupt and wanted to ensure a better future for us. The Constitution is the foundation on which I may build a successful life. I can work hard to achieve my dreams, live freely, and have a voice for change.”
“There is plenty of controversy in today’s age when it comes to being patriotic. Our nation’s goal may be misunderstood in some minds, but it is straightforward. The goal was to create a more perfect union. People spend their lives searching for happiness, something the Constitution promises us. Does the Constitution really provide us with the opportunity to have happiness? Of course, by simply having a constitution, we are not automatically provided with happiness, but we have the keys to pursue it.
In an article by Akhil Amar, from the National Constitution Center, he answers this question by saying, “Yes, a well-structured federal government of enumerated power and explicit rights invites every voice to be heard in the political process, secure investments and the jobs they yield, defends us from foreign and domestic threats to peace, and most of all, because of these refined limits of governmental power, leaves to each citizen a great expanse of freedom.’ From this quote, Lauren responds, “Having a democracy that listens to the people and changes with their needs aids us in our pursuit of happiness. Freedom is happiness, and we are all free.”
Lauren concludes her essay by stating that “the Constitution affects my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness because it provides it. Thanks to this document, I have my freedom, and I have a voice. The Constitution truly makes America ‘The land of the free, home of the brave.’”
Lauren Montierth is a senior at Safford High School and the daughter of Alisha and Robert Montierth. She attributes her strong spirit of patriotism to her grandfathers who served in the military and her father who works for the U.S. Public Health Service and closely with the Centers for Disease Control. She feels that her parents and grandparents have been exceptionally good influences in her life because they are selfless and kind. Feeling lucky not to have struggled in her life, she wants to help others and hopes to serve in third world countries as a dental hygienist. She feels it is important to serve by experiencing a part of life out of her comfort zone. It is also important to her to remember the freedoms the Constitution gives and to instill respect for those freedoms in her children when she has her own family.
For further information about the next DAR Patriotic Essay Contest in September 2022 for high school dual-enrolled students, contact Bonnie Briscoe (928-428-5904) or any member of the DAR Gila Valley Chapter.