Grades 9-10

Poetry - 1st Place

Marielle Patrick, Ft. Myers High

Freedom Has Never Been Free

You were born with an evergreen spirit

Tenacity  unable to be scorched.

You fought for the noblest of causes

Your bark they intended to torch.

Surrounding horrors of enemy fire

Were dimmed by a blazing spirit within.

With humility at your roots and dirt on your boots

You brushed evil from rugged skin.

They marked you finished and declared your battle lost.

They even decided your fate.

But one little detail went overlooked:

State of war with red, white, and blue, a very dangerous state.

Now, missiles fade and barracks seem empty,

You triumphed over unspeakable grief.

Know that your service has come full circle -

An eternal evergreen wreath.

So it is true that the fire inside

Burns patriotic shades and also a green color

Because the American spirit, like that majestic tree,

Bows to God but never another.

Type your paragraph here.

Grades 11-12

Poetry - 1st Place

Grace Speas, Ft. Myers High

The Evergreen Spirit

2015 Winning Poetry Entries

I am free to worship God and sing his praises, I am free to speak without fear of any inherent harm.

I am free to assemble and I can petition for change. I am free to protect myself and to bear arms.

I am free of the worry of unlawful search and seizure, and due process is always afforded to me.

I cannot be tried twice - that is double jeopardy, and I can only be tried by my peers in a jury.

I do not have to worry about punishment that is unusual or cruel

I walk around totally free and not subject to some despot's rule

They say that nothing in life is free, so I started to think about the price paid for me

It was bought at the expense of men and women who have sacrificed precious time with family.

It was bought with the innocence of youth forever taken from many a young teen

Who cannot sleep and remains haunted nightly by the atrocities they've seen

It was bought with the hearing and the sight of those now deaf and blind from flying metal

It was bought with soldiers' tissue, tendon, bone, and limbs so damaged they wound up dying.

It was bought with spines so damaged that walking and running can happen no more

It was bought with the lives of fathers and mothers, labeled as casualties of war

There are those who question sacrifice and won't support those who are in the fight

Not caring it is because of them that they sleep unmolested at night.

So as I sit here living and breathing free to muse about

Whatever my mind may choose to stumble upon

Or just to be fifteen year old me.

I know the freedom I enjoy has never been free

It has been paid for with the precious blood of patriotis

scattered from sea to shining sea.