NEWFOUNDLAND - The meaning of the American flag, was considered by many students from Wallenpaupack South Elementary School this Veterans Day.

For American Legion Post 859 Newfoundland - Phillips Zacharias Phillips’ annual essay contest, Autumn Belluardo who is in the fourth grade and placed first in her grade, said the flag is important because “we are free” as it “stands for truth, justice, liberty, love, peace and most of all, freedom” which is a “beautiful thing.” To the veterans, she is thankful for fighting hard and because of that, Belluardo is “proud of them.”

The American flag, fifth grader Zachary Dittus who placed first in his grade said “shows freedom in our country” as people are able to do “whatever we choose to do with our life” as well as showing other countries that “we are strong and free.”

The second-place winner for the fifth grade, Breanna Conklin said the flag is important because it allows people to “be who we are” as they are free. The original flag had 13 stars, which represented the 13 colonies. Today, with 50 stars they represent the 50 states. The “nation’s colors” of red, white and blue are to be represented because without them, Conklin said, “we would not be enjoying the freedoms that we have.”

With the flag representing traits such as freedom and courage, third place winner from the fourth grade, Jaymison Ostrowski said freedom is demonstrated, as “we’re free to do anything.” Bravery is proven as Americans “stand up for each other.” Safety is shown, as people are able to “walk outside without being bossed.” People are courageous she said, because they are “not afraid of danger.”

The flag, third place winner from the fifth grade, Jillian Dunaway said shows others that “we are a free nation” since there are nations where the flag has “little meaning.” Whereas the American flag represents America as a “free nation.”

Head Teacher Michael Soskil told the students that while they celebrated Veterans Day, they should remember that the “greatness of our country” is the result of the sacrifices made by the veterans who stood before them. And so, the students should thank the veterans they meet, not just during Veterans Day, but whenever they meet a veteran.

An army veteran and a member of Post 859 Newfoundland, Lloyd Snell said the students’ essays were “awesome.” In addition to the essay contest, the school was presented with a new flag for the flagpole, which was a veteran’s flag.