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'The Power of Democracy' an award winning essay.

The following is the winning essay from the 12th Annual Leadership Summit by the Charleston, S.C., County School District. Eleventh grade students Omi Noah Jon Naderi, Frances Morris and Leigh Dekle were the top three students and participated in the full summit program.

Naderi won the contest. The second part of his winning essay is printed below. The first part was printed in the October 4 issue of Nation's Cities Weekly.

One of the finest characteristics of the United States is that it allows people to shape and mold their opportunities according to the effort each person is willing to put forth. Combined with his self-effort, my father was able to become successful because of the many opportunities that democracy provides. He established a business, married an American, and had me, their son. The same freedoms that benefited Ali Naderi and allowed him to find his voice have benefited me as well. They have also improved the lives of several of my other Iranian family members who came to America later on, also in search of a life of liberty and greater opportunity. My relatives are only one example of the many immigrants who have come to this democratic country over the last couple centuries to enjoy the freedom to find their voices.

But this blessing of freedom does not come cheaply. In the USA, it has a hefty price tag. This cost has been paid time and time again throughout our history in the sacrifices of wars this nation has fought to uphold the ideals of freedom and democracy. To establish this country, young men gave their lives during Revolutionary War because they felt that freedom was something worth fighting for- something worth dying for. Since then, each war has been fought with the blood and sweat of Americans determined to defend their nation from losing what they held dearest to them: Freedom. The sacrifices each generation made has paved a smoother road for the next generation, so they too could live with the privileges provided by democracy--so they too could find their voices. Each generation has met new challenges and dealt with them. And now we are engaged in another conflict, this time in the Middle East over terrorism, but not only for our own ability to continue to live freely. It is for others to experience the power within themselves that is awakened through a democratic government that will finally let them discover the power of their own voices. All the wars this country has fought have reminded us that freedom is a privilege and should not be taken for granted.

At the core of democracy, at its foundation, people are given the right to freely find their voices and make them heard by allowing citizens to contribute to the government. A person is given the freedom to follow the path that his or her inner voice desires. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, Deriving their powers from the consent of the governed." To this day, his ideas permeate the principles of the United States. With grace, our system of government will always endure, providing opportunities and liberties to future generations and people from around the world. May our shining example of democracy inspire people of all nations to find their own voices and experience the bliss of freedom.
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Author:Naderi, Omi
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 11, 2004
Words:601
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