Pacific High School sophomore Allison Thiemann recently learned that an essay she wrote as a freshman has won a state competition.

Each year, the American Legion Auxiliary sponsors an Americanism essay contest for students in grades three through 12. Grade levels are divided into five classes.

The Pacific American Legion Auxiliary works with the Meramec Valley School District Odyssey program to promote the contest.

“We’re just very excited that Allison’s essay has won twice now,” said Nancy Bush, who was Legion Auxiliary president last year when the essay was entered into competition.

“How Can I Show My Patriotism in My Community?” is the title of the essay that Thiemann entered in Class IV, grades nine and 10 of the competition. She learned last year that her thesis had won the district award, which earned her $25.

The essay then proceeded to the state level where it also won first place in its class.

Now a sophomore, Thiemann won an additional $25 award and a $50 honorarium in her name was made to the National President’s Scholarship fund.

Now the essay moves to the national level where it will be judged against freshman and sophomore essays from all over the United States. Her essay in full follows.

“Patriotism literally means devoted love, support and defense of one’s country. Let’s break it down.

“Devoted love means love that somehow attaches you permanently to someone or something. So what does it mean patriotically speaking? Undying love for your country is what it means. Loving it so much you wouldn’t let someone or something harm it.

“Support means you’ll stand behind it no matter what happens. Defense is an obvious one. Protect your country and the people living within its boundaries. So putting it back together, patriotism means loving your country, supporting it no matter what, and protecting it against intruders. So how can you show this in your community? That’s easy!

“To some people, patriotism in your community means wearing an American flag on your shirt or celebrating the Fourth of July with a barbecue and pool party, but it is much more than that. Yes, these things are nice but more can be done to show your patriotism.

“One thing you can do is fly an American flag outside your porch. Let the people in your community know that you are an American citizen and you are proud of it. The flag is a symbol of your country and no one can change that. When you fly that flag, you proclaim your country’s freedom!

“Another good step toward patriotism is buying American made products anytime you can. China is taking the grocery stores and stores with their products. American made products are from AMERICA! ! ! ! Sure they may be a little more pricey, but that’s only because they are better made and the competition makes their products cheaper.

“American products boost America’s economy and provide AMERICANS with well-paying jobs. For example, Levis jeans. Levis are made in Mexico and Wranglers are made in America (North Carolina to be exact). If everyone bought Wranglers, then Levis wouldn’t make any money and would have to up their price, making Wranglers cheaper and putting money in American pockets. It’s simple business, can make a difference. If you can be patriotic buying jeans you can be patriotic anywhere.

“One last thing you can do is a simple thing, but says a lot. You can learn the national anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Believe it or not, a lot of Americans do not know the national anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance. In fact most people can recite the Big Mac song better than the Pledge of Allegiance! Luckily, schools say the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning otherwise it would probably be unknown.

“Patriotism doesn’t mean you have to go out and fight in the war or petition on the White House lawn. Simple everyday things can make you more of a patriot than you ever thought.”