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Buena Park Girl Pens Winning Essay on Flag

From United Press International

While politicians and courts debate burning of the American flag as Independence Day approaches, a 12-year-old Buena Park, Calif., girl has won a $500 prize from the California chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police for her essay on the subject.

“The flag represents the United States much like the Statue of Liberty, the bald eagle or the United States President does,” Abby Fung wrote in her essay that won over thousands of others submitted from schools statewide.

“To me, the flag shall always remain a symbol of goals and determination, however, and may it wave strongly and proudly, radiating freedom from sea to shining sea and blessing all those who believe in it, as God blesses America in its prosperity and its future,” she concludes.

The essay says that, while “our elected national politicians engage in heated debate” over whether the U.S. flag is an object or a symbol, Abby sought to discover the answer for herself and did so “unforgettably, in the simplistic setting of a day at school” and the Pledge of Allegiance.

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“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and all that it stands for,” she recalls reciting. “But what does it stand for?” she asked herself, and she began to think . . .

“A free and unyielding spirit of the American people, their perseverance, their unity, their conquests and their pride are all exhibited in this historic piece of cloth.

“As the flag gallantly waves, it beckons to everyone to share in the opportunities, the freedom and the chance to make something of yourself and for yourself, just as the Statue of Liberty beckons to us with her torchlight. It sends a message to each and every one of us; a message of pride, a message of unity, of ‘together we stand and divided we fall.’ And it affects each of us in our own way,” she wrote.

“A young soldier returning from combat abroad can look at the flag and be proud--proud that he served his country well. His blood and his victory is ours. He is a piece of the flag, just as the flag is a part of him, and when he gazes upon it, he can realize that what he has made is a sacrifice for America and its generations to come in its quest for freedom now and forever.

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“A refugee from a Central American or . . . Asian country can look at the flag with hope in their eyes and envision the opportunities the ‘Golden Land’ has to offer them; an offer of promise and hope and dreams.

“They have come to a land where class does not matter, but where determination and the will to succeed can help you make it.”

Abby then refers to the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, planting of the flag on the moon by astronauts and finally Robert Peary’s quest for the North Pole.

“Americans once again rejoiced with the explorer, as if they had done it, had taken a ‘giant leap for all of mankind,’ ” she wrote.

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Tom Kasovich, a local district attorney’s office investigator, said Gov. George Deukmejian wrote him that he would send a letter to Abby praising her inspiring essay.


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