Commentary: There are many opportunities to grow in America

Every year, Huntington VFW Post No. 10466 sponsors a patriotic essay contest open to seventh and eighth grade students in Shelton and Derby.

The theme this year is “Why I’m glad to be an American,” and the two winners from Shelton Intermediate School were Sabrina Hudson and Tyler Romano.

By Tyler Romano

I am glad to be an American because in the United States, there are many opportunities to grow. I was raised to value everything that is available here for me.

My grandfather came to America from Italy in 1967. He came here for the freedom and opportunities that the U.S. offered families.

My grandparents raised their children to remember their Italian heritage but at the same time, to be proud to become a citizen of this beautiful country. That value was passed on, and that is the way my parents have raised me.

I never realized how much the U.S. had to offer until my family would tell stories about how they lived during World War II. They had to sleep in drawers because they didn’t have a bed. They had no food, so they would save pieces of bread. Their country was suffering from such a horrible economy.

When they came to America, they were able to get a job working in a restaurant. They took what they learned from the restaurant and were eventually able to open their own business.

I have been reminded my entire life by hearing these stories.

Another reason I am glad to be an American is I have the opportunity for a good education, to play baseball, and one day to have a good job. These are all things my grandparents couldn’t have or do.

After hearing the stories of my great grandmother’s brother dying from a bomb right in front of her, I thank God everyday for the men and women that serve in the U.S. military to protect us. I am going to take these values that I have learned and pass them on to my family.

Tyler Romano, a seventh grader at Shelton Intermediate School, s a high honors student who participates in the Enrichment Program. Tyler is a baseball player and helps coach the Little League program.