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Mt. Pulaski , Illinois
January 6, 2014     Times
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January 6, 2014

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R' o q .= IO O 4= "Why I'm Optimistic About Our Nation's Future" By Madison Micheile Haley Benghazi, illegal spying by the NSA, the targeting of con- servative Americans by the IRS... I watch the news, and it seems that our Country is plagued by turmoil and strife. Trayvon Martin, the Fort Hood massacre, the Boston bomb- ing... I Watch the news and it seems that our Country is over- whelmed by hate and division. It would be easy for me (a high school senior) to be pessimistic about the nation's future and fearful of my own, and yet I'm not. I'm just the opposite actu- ally. Why may you ask? Let me tell you the story "of the USS America, and you will clearly see why, like me, you too should be optimistic about this Nation's future. Inspired by architects such as Thomas Jefferson and John "Adams, the blueprints of a vessel unlike any the world has seen before were crafted. Held captive by tyrannical English moorings, thousands of people Willingly sacrificed their lives to release her binds while yell- ing in unison 'In God We Trust' ! Following the command of her Captain, George Washington, they raised the red, white and blue sails adorned with stars and stripes as they set sail for history with the Constitution to guide the way. She was constructed from freedom and liberty, and in over 200 years, she's never sunk. On her hull, the following words are emblazoned, "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." She's only run aground once on the rocky shores of the Civil War. During this time, she was torn in half as the current of slavery pulled her to and fro against the jagged rocks. This is the closest she's ever come to sinking. That is until Abraham Lincoln guided her to deeper waters using the tide of eman- cipation to break her bondage while freeing ale The winds of time carry her to lands of prosperity and through storms of adversity that riddle her to the core, but the crew never withers and her body never breaks from the strain. Facing tsunamis such as the Great Depression, two World Wars, and two fallen towers, she sails onward .... constantly and consistently moving for- ward. She may bend, but she never breaks, and though she sometimes loses her way, her unwavering compass, the Con- stitution, eventually leads her back on course. This is why I'm optimis- tic. I'm a crewmember of the U.S.S. America, and because of her history, I know this ship will always cut through murky waters and weather all storms. When I look behind from where we have come, I am no longer afraid to look ahead to where we are going. It's not that the ship is unsinkable, but rather, her crew refuses to allow it to sink. Yes, We have strife, and the love of many grows cold, but when the winds roar and the waves threaten, we pull together. The I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family the very best in the NewYear. You make me proud to be Mayor of Mt. Pulaski and I am sincerely honored to continue to serve you.I look forward to the opportunities that lay ahead of us in 2014. Mayor Jim Fuhrer eradication of slavery's evil was supplanted by the triumphant election of our nation's first black President. The carnage of two World Wars birthed our nation's greatest generation who freed millions from German oppression, and the heart of mankind rose from the rubble of two fallen towers as evidenced by the courageous firemen and policemen who. thought noth- ing of their own safety while rescuing others. But mostly, I'm optimistic because this country is still the Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave, one nation under God, indivisible with lib- erty and justice for all. I know that when the skies grow dark and the waves threaten, we will resolutely stand on the bow of the U.S.S America while recit- ing the same words Our forefa- thers did before us;" In God We Trust". MADISON HALEY, daughter of Jeff and Tricia Haley of Chest- nut, is a senior at MPHS. She has recently been declared the winner of our local Mt. Pulaski VFW Scroggin-Gee Post 777 Voice of Democracy 2013 Scholarship Competition. Her essay has been forward to district for consideration for Illi- nois and National VFW recog- m'tion and scholarship awards. Submitted by - Phil Bertoni Quartermaster Mt. Pulaski VFW Post 777 Mt. Pulaski Christmas Cantata A large audience poured into the Mt. Pulaski Christian Church on Sunday evening to enjoy an up-lifting and mostly- traditional Christmas vocal and instrumental music concert, punctuated by relevant narra- tives throughout. What Sweeter Music - A Fes- tival of Carols by composer, Mark Hayes, was performed by 28 singers and 24 instrumen- talists -- all directed marvel- ously by Claus Tanner and Beth Anderson, both former long- time instrumental and choir teachers. Here is what Mark Hayes' Lorenzo Publishing has to say: What Sweeter Music ZA Fes- tival of Carols is a sumptuous feast of fifteen Christmas carols plus several original songs from the pen of o/ae of this genera- tion's master composers, Mark Hayes. The joyous "Opening Medley" sets the stage for the many exceptional moments to come, from a powerful setting of the "Magnificat" for soprano solo to the charming "Cradle Medley." Sensitive underscor- ing continues the musical flow between movements as male and female narrators share the beloved Christmas story. Mark's keyboard accompani- ment is a sheer delight and offers a wonderful complement to the voices. 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