I’m not sure if I’m angry, embarrassed, disappointed, or a combination thereof, because of an event that was held here in Franklin, Saturday, Jan. 22. The American Legion Post 108 held a Constitutional Speech competition for high school students. Students were to give an eight to ten minute prepared speech on the Constitution of the United States. The second part of the contest was a three to five minute extemporaneous speech on a selected amendment to the Constitution. Prizes were awarded and the winner is eligible to participate in the next level of the contest to be held in Hickory. As the student continues winning in the competitions, he or she is able to win large sums of monies for their college education.
Our Legion Post is to be commended for their organization, with judges, timers, assistants for the students, and other members there to assist or just add support. These Legion members who have served our country, defending our Constitution while in the armed forces, gave up their Saturday to be there to help the students.
At this first level of competition, there were just two students participating from all of Western North Carolina, one from Waynesville, and one from Murphy. There were no students, none, zero, nada, from Franklin or any part of Macon County. Does this indicate the level of their patriotism, of love and respect for our country? The lack of gratitude for lives lost, or the sacrifices made by past generations, their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents so that young Americans can continue to live under freedom. If this is the case, where have we gone wrong? It is our duty to set an example for our young people and instill the values and principles of American Exceptionalism.
Hal Chapman — Otto, N.C.