Mr. Wronko’s students, Kobe Miller, Evelyn Villa Carrasco, and Matthew Tomaini were recognized for their essays explaining what the Pledge of Allegiance Means to them. Because of their hard work in research, revising, editing, and writing the final draft to their essays, these students were given awards by the Asbury Park-Wall Elks #128 Lodge. The following were the essays that were written by Kobe Miller, Evelyn Villa Carrasco, and Matthew Tomaini. Kobe Miller’s Essay:

What the Pledge of Allegiance Means to Me?
To me the Pledge of Allegiance represents the strength and honor of America. For example, the phrase, “I pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” means to give your heart and love to the troops who lived and died in all wars such as the Revolutionary War, Civil War, Spanish American War, World War One, World War Two, Korean War, Vietnam War, War in Afghanistan, and the War in Iraq. This phrase also means to show love to our first black president, Barack H. Obama.

The next phrase “and to the republic for which it stands” to me symbolizes our right to vote for who we feel will be the best person for all elected offices. This statement reminds us why we live in the greatest nation in the world and that is because we have the right to pick who we want to be president, governor, senator, and congressman or congresswoman. There are many countries who would not allow this because they do not have a democracy.

After “and to the republic for which it stands” states “one nation under God.” To me this means one great nation under the blessing of God who protects us all. Following “one nation under God” is the word “indivisible.” To me it means that the United States is unbreakable. A great example that shows this is the election of our first black president, Barack H. Obama. When Barack H. Obama became president, everyone regardless of race and religion voted for him. Because of this, his election shows how the country is united.

Since the country is united it is unbreakable because no one protested when Barack H. Obama was sworn into office. Finally, the last phrase “with liberty and justice for all” reminds me of when Patrick Henry said “give me liberty or give me death” to King George III. The reason why “with liberty and justice for all” reminds me of Patrick Henry because his statement shows how important liberty is. For example, during the time of the American Revolution, the American colonists had no representation in Parliament. As a result, many like Patrick Henry felt that they would rather have their freedom than be alive. The reason why they felt this way was because they had no rights to do what they wanted to do. Therefore, the American colonists fought against England and won their freedom. That’s what the Pledge of Allegiance means to me.

Evelyn Villa Carrasco’s Essay:
What the Pledge of Allegiance Means to Me?
The Pledge of Allegiance means many things. For instance, when I say the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at my school it reminds me of how people serve our country and fight for our freedom. When I think of these brave men and women, I stand tall and am proud to show my gratitude every morning when I say the pledge. Another thing the Pledge of Allegiance means to me are the people who lost their lives
on 9/11.The reason why saying the pledge makes me think of the victims on 9/11 is because these people were Americans who were enjoying their freedom and all of a sudden had their lives taken from them. Even
though their lives were taken from them, they lived every day of their lives having freedom. In addition, after that horrible event, many people raised and waved the American flag to show respect to those people. When I recite the pledge I think of all those people who raised and waved the American flag across the country to honor those victims. It reminds me that we are all united. In my opinion what
reinforced the idea that we are all united were the fire fighters who raised the flag after the dreadful events of 9/11. Their raising of the American flag showed true unification.

Besides 9/11, when I say the Pledge of Allegiance it makes me think about the many stages the American flag had gone through. For example, Francis Hopkinson created six pointed stars in a couple of rows. Betsy Ross made the thirteen star flag. Also there was the fifteen star and fifteen stripe Star Spangled Banner Flag. The people who created each stage of the American flag showed true respect to the United States because each flag had its own unique beauty. But when I say the pledge, all those flags regardless of what stage they were in all represent the one word that unites us all, freedom.

Finally, I feel that the Pledge of Allegiance means is that we are all showing respect to each other. I feel that Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech really enforces that idea. For instance, Dr. King stated in his speech that “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Therefore, the Pledge of Allegiance represents us all. This is what the Pledge of Allegiance, means to me.


Matthew Tomaini’s Essay
What the Pledge of Allegiance Means to Me?

The Pledge of Allegiance means a lot to me. According to the first phrase of the Pledge of Allegiance, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” shows how many brave men and women who served for the United States fought to keep our country safe and intact for many generations to come. In addition, this phrase also reminds me of many historical events that took place in U.S. history.

For instance, when the United States military fought the Japanese at the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II, the odds were against the American soldiers. The Japanese made use of tunnels through inactive volcanoes which were impervious to bombing. As a result, the U.S. soldiers had a difficult time finding and defeating their opponent.

Therefore, the United States at this battle was the ultimate underdog. However, after a successful campaign on one part of this volcanic island, a group of soldiers raised the American flag. This encouraged the American soldiers to continue the fight and not give up. Because of the American flag, the soldiers defeated the Japanese at the battle of Iwo Jima. The soldiers raising the American flag at this battle truly represent the phrase “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the
United States of America.”

Also this phrase reminds me of another major historical event in history which was when the firefighters raised the American flag after the events of 9/11. For example, after the destruction of the World Trade Center on 9/11, the firefighters raised the American flag to show that the United States did not surrender to terrorism. After this horrific event, the firefighters mustered the strength to raise the flag to ensure the American people that the United States did not die. That scene of the firefighters raising the American flag truly lives in those words of “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.”

The next phrase “to the Republic for which it stands” means that the American flag represents a country that is unique and everlasting. An example of this is that the American people have rights and we demonstrate our rights by voicing our opinions. We are allowed to voice our opinions because we live in a country that has a democracy.

Therefore, our country is one because everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights spells out our freedom in this country and guarantees that everyone will be protected under the law. Democracy and the Bill of Rights are indeed true meanings to the phrase “to the Republic for which it stands.” On another note, from an artistic point of view, the painting of Washington crossing the Delaware River by Emanuel Leutze truly symbolizes “to the Republic for which it stands.” For instance, in the painting, Washington’s posture is strong and robust. His stance represents the words “Republic for which it stands.”

Besides the first two phrases, a word in the Pledge of Allegiance truly shines. That word is “indivisible.” This word means to me that the United States is not divided. Even after the time of the Civil War, our country remains one. For instance, during the Civil War the United States fought not only to end slavery but to keep this country united. Because the country was at war with itself, the United States was on the verge of collapse. If it was not for the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, the word “indivisible” would have disappeared in the Pledge of Allegiance. Because of his leadership the United States, also known as the Union, defeated the Confederate States of America. As a result, the word “indivisible” remains in the pledge.

Finally, in my opinion the last phrase in the Pledge of Allegiance, “with liberty and justice for all,” has a comforting meaning that all Americans can agree with which is that Osama Bin Laden is no more. For example, when the United States Seal Team 6 killed Osama Bin Laden, this brought justice to the American people, especially to those who lost loved ones on 9/11/01. Barack Obama reassured this justice by informing the American public and the victims of 9/11 that Bin Laden was eliminated from this world. The death of Bin Laden glorifies the words “with liberty and justice for all” because terrorism failed at destroying our freedom and if anyone tries to hurt the American people, justice will prevail.

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In conclusion, this essay demonstrates what the the Pledge of Allegiance means to me. We all should remember through the Pledge of Allegiance that we the United States stands together as one and we should honor those who have been fighting in the military for our country.

Representing the students from Asbury Park Middle School was social studies teacher Mr. Wronko. This marks the third year in a row that Mr. Wronko had students recognized by the Asbury Park-Wall Elks #128 Lodge. For instance, last year Mr. Wronko’s student, Khiya Mullings placed first in the division for her essay on what does Veterans Day Mean to me and the previous year Anijah Taylor was one of the top
winners for her essay on what does the National Anthem mean to me.

Both their essays read:
Khiya’s essay:

What does Veterans Day mean to me?
Veterans Day means to me are the brave men and women who fought and are still fighting for the United States of America. It also means that these brave men and women who served were willing to risk their lives so that everyone in this country can have a good life. We should be real thankful because if our veterans and current soldiers did not fight in a war for us we would not have freedom. When our veterans fought for our freedom that we have today, their sacrifice was tremendous. For instance, these veterans did not see their families, children, and friends for prolong periods of time. In addition, today’s soldiers face the same sacrifice of not seeing their loved ones. The veterans and soldiers of today are beyond dedicated. Their dedication is well displayed on Veterans Day when they stand still and salute the flag while the National Anthem plays in all its glory. While this scene is taking place, we all can reflect about all of the soldiers who get hurt or have sacrificed their life so we can have freedom. During Veterans Day, I have noticed on television the families who lost their loved ones during combat. I feel bad for these families because they know the sacrifice their loved ones made to preserve the freedom within our country. I wanted to cry myself because it was so sad. In my own opinion, everyone should be thankful for their service.

It is very hurtful to see people who show no gratitude to our veterans. These people must realize that our veterans and current soldiers serve when no one else is willing. If there was anything I could do for the veterans and current soldiers I would. For instance, I participated with several of my peers putting together an assembly for the veterans. The veterans who attended this assembly were Alfonse Freda (Korean War Veteran), Lou Parisi (World War II Veteran), and George Reed (Vietnam Veteran). During our presentations, we made sure that everyone in attendance understood that these brave men that were here today risked their lives so we could have freedom. Veterans Day is also important because the ones who have served and are currently serving have gone through a lot. They have to see the horrors of war with people dying around them. Because of this tough sacrifice of enduring the horrors of war, we can hang out with our friends, watch TV, and have cell phones to talk to our friends. In addition, we can go places whenever we want and travel whenever we want. In many countries they cannot do that because they do not have freedom. They live under some form of dictatorship that does not allow people to do much of anything. Also in other countries, vicious governments allow their children to starve. However, because of our government and the people who are serving and have served, we do not have to worry about starvation. I am proud that I am free. I am proud that I am a U.S citizen. I am proud of all our Veterans and soldiers who fought and are still fighting for my country. On a personal note, my brother is joining the Marines. He leaves in December and I am proud. He’s going overseas. I hope he’s going to be safe. My grandfather also served in the U.S army. I saw his picture in his army uniform. When my grandfather died the soldiers lifted up his casket standing still, the American flag was draped over his casket. Then after that, they shot the gun up in the air. Being a Veteran is great. What does being a Veteran mean to you?

Anijah Taylor’s essay:
“WHAT DOES THE NATIONAL ANTHEM MEAN TO ME?”

To me the National Anthem has many meanings. First I would like to focus on is the brave men and women that are serving overseas fighting the war on terrorism because there are many phrases in the National Anthem that truly represent their bravery. For example, I feel this way because it says the “bombs bursting in the air.” This reminds me of the men and women fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Every
day, these men and women are putting their lives on the line so that terrorism never again reaches the shores of the U.S. In addition, what stands out is the saying of “home of the brave.” “Home of thebrave” is very uplifting because what brings this to light is the navy seal six who eliminated Osama Bin Laden, the terrorist responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center and the
death of 3,000 people. Second, the words “the flag was still there” reminds me of major events in U.S. history in which the flag gave hope. For instance, during World War II, the battle of Iwo Jima was a horrific conflict in which the United States battled Japan. After many days of fighting, the American soldiers were discouraged. However, that changed when the U.S. soldiers raised the American Flag. This inspired the soldiers to defeat Japan. The flag showed total bravery and inspiration. In addition to the battle of Iwo Jima, the flag being raised after the destruction of the World Trade Center reminds me of the words “the flag was still there.” For example, on 9’11, not only was the
World Trade Center destroyed, but one hijacked plane hit the pentagon, and the last hijacked plane hit the field in Pennsylvania. That plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was heading for the White House and would of have made it if was not for the brave men and women on board that stopped the terrorists from carrying out another horrific event. After all the horrific events of 9’11, the fire fighters raised the American flag to show that the United States did not die. In conclusion, this was my interpretation of the National Anthem. I am sure that the National Anthem has many more meanings. But one can agree that the National Anthem remains in the heart of all Americans.

By:
Anijah Taylor

Asbury Park Middle School student essays and articles relating to
their essays could be seen at the following links:

http://www.jerseyvoices.com/2014/03/17/asbury-park-middle-school-students-shine-asbury-park-wall-elks-128-lodge/

http://www.jerseyvoices.com/2013/06/19/what-does-the-national-anthem-mean-to-me/

http://www.jerseyvoices.com/2014/02/10/super-events-asbury-park-middle-school/

https://www.unheardvoicesmag.com/2014/10/23/patriots-pen-2014/#

https://www.unheardvoicesmag.com/2013/11/08/patriots-pen/

https://www.unheardvoicesmag.com/2013/04/01/the-great-things-happening-at-asbury-park-middle-school-part-2/

https://www.unheardvoicesmag.com/2012/06/11/asbury-park-middle-school-a-class-onto-itself/

https://www.unheardvoicesmag.com/2012/02/17/the-great-things-happening-at-asbury-park-middle-school/

P.S. Asbury Park Middle students’ art work once again appears in Prehistoric Times Magazine. That issue was 112. Artwork done by Perfecto K., Javier A.R. and Matthew Tomaini.

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