Jonathan Cowherd
West Milford, New Jersey

I am the flag of the United States of America. Today I am flying in thousands of places all over the world, just as I have flown for the past 218 years.

I was raised this morning in front of Westbrook School, so that I am the first thing students see when they get off the school bus. I am in each of the classrooms, too, and young Americans everywhere show their patriotism and loyalty to America by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to me every morning.

I am covering the coffin of an honored war veteran who is being laid to rest today. After the funeral, his or her family will be given my carefully folded triangle as a remembrance of their loved oneís loyal service to America.

I am flying over embassies around the world to remind people in other countries that democracy is alive and well in the United States and that Americans have a safe place to come to whenever they travel.

Do you see me at the Capitol in Washington, DC? Lots of arguments go on inside this building as Senators and Representatives in Congress decide our laws, but I remind them we are a democracy and they are representatives of all the people.

I am in a parade today for brave firefighters and police officers who have saved lives. Spectators are standing with their hats off, and they salute me.

Itís the end of the day now, and across the land, I am being lowered with great respect and carefully folded away for the night. My stars and stripes have served my country well for another day.

In 1996, Jonathan Cowherd, age 12, won his schoolís flag essay contest sponsored by the American Legion. His proud grandfather, Brother William F. Cowherd, 32, a 50-year member of Fort Cumberland Lodge No. 211 and a member of the Cumberland, Maryland, Scottish Rite Valley, sent in this essay which--after winning city, county, and state contests--was judged National Winner by the American Legion.