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William O. Lipinski

William O. Lipinski

Our youth need to learn patriotism

By William O. Lipinski

Back in the 1960s, long before I ran for alderman of the 23rd Ward or the U.S. Congress, I was working in the recreation department of the Chicago Park District.

It was the time of the Vietnam War. I had just completed my six years in the Army reserves and wanted to continue serving my country.

It was a very terrible troubled time in our Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Some of the country supported our efforts to stop communism in Vietnam, and some of our citizens wanted no part of that fight.

The war was dividing us into two very hostile warring factions. To try to do something about it in a very small way, my wife, RoseMarie, and I came up with some patriotic events we hoped would bring our community together.

The events were a parade on the Fourth of July called the Patriots Parade, athletic events with patriotic names such as the Betsy Ross 50-yard dash, the 1776 high jump, the Minuteman softball tournament and more.

These events were held on the weekend closest to the Fourth of July for boys and girls ages 8-17. We also held a junior citizen contest for 6, 7 and 8th grade students called the All American Girl and Boy Essay Contest.

Before I mention any other events we came up with to try to bring our community closer together in a patriotic way, I must say these events would not have been possible without the help of my fellow park district worker–the supervisor of Wentworth Park–my very good friend, Ray McDonald.

McDonald was a World War II veteran who loved his country very

very much.

Another patriotic activity we came up with was the Southwest Liberty Society, which recognized adults in each community for their patriotic endeavors.

Over the years and because of changing circumstances and changing times, some of these events passed into others’ hands to continue, and some just stopped being held for one reason

or another.

The one organization and event I founded in 1968 and continue to run without interruption is the All American Eagles Americanism essay and history quiz competition.

This program is conducted each year between October and April for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.

We believe it is very important to educate our youth in American history and in our democratic principles.

We believe one way of doing this is by conducting essay competitions and a history quiz. We believe this will inspire our young people to read about and reflect on America and its glorious history.

A history that has seen us save mankind in two world wars, conquer international communism and build the world’s greatest

economy for our benefit and the benefit of all mankind.

The first two events this year were essay competitions entitled “Why I Love America” and “What were the causes of the Revolutionary War.”

The next event is our third essay competition entitled “Who is the greatest president in the history of America.”

The deadline to submit entries for this new All American Essay Contest is Monday, Feb. 14.

The essay must include the student’s name, address, phone number, the name of the student’s school, the school’s phone number, grade and room number. The essay must be at least 400 words but no more than 700 words.

Awards will be given to the first and second place winners in each of the three grades. In addition, a cash prize will be given to the first place winner in each grade. There is also a cash prize for the school that has the most student entries.

Entries should be mailed to Bill Lipinski, 5305 Lawn Ave., Western Springs, IL 60558.

For more information about this new contest, please email me at [email protected]

I look forward to seeing student entries.

William O. Lipinski is a retired longtime elected official. He once served as 23rd Ward alderman and Democratic committeeman, as well a U.S. congressman, from 1982 to 2005. Email him at [email protected]

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