Grand Prize – Intermediate
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Grand Prize – Intermediate

Tanner Vandecoevering


El Toro Health and Science
5th Grade – Mrs. Silva

“. . . Only in America
Dreamin’ in red, white and blue’.
Only in America
Where we dream as big as we want to”


Songs have been here for a very long time.  Hurrian Hymn No. 6 was the first recorded ever song composed by Syrians around 3400 years ago.  Patriot songs have been here a while too.  “The Liberty Song”, written by Founding Father John Dickinson in 1768 with the help of William Boyce’s “Heart of Oak”, is perhaps the first patriotic song written in America.  There are hundreds of patriotic songs, and I had to choose one. So this is how I limited it.  I wanted it to show how America is different than other countries, and how we are free.  I also wanted it to be a song that I liked overall, so it wasn’t just a random song I found.  So I chose the country, patriot song, “Only in America” by Brooks & Dunn.

“Only in America” is actually on my playlist of songs at home.  The lyrics of the song are good too.  I really like the part where it says, “One kid dreams of fame and fortune, One kid helps pay the rent.  One could end up going to prison, One just might be president” because it’s so true.  It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, the quality of your house, or how much money you have.  You could grow up to be anything.  The song is also happy; it describes how we will never have slaves. How everyone will have the same chances no matter what.  This makes me feel good about America.  “Only in America”, even the name, describes America’s bonuses.  I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Whenever I think of “Only in America”, I think of my grandfather on my mother’s side. He was a medic in the Vietnam War.  That means he was a doctor in the Army.  In 1965, during the start of the Vietnam War he was a medical intern.  He and some of his friends were drafted with the understanding that they could finish their residencies and then had to go in the Army. In May, 1968, he went on active duty in June, did basic training after they drove across country from LA to Fort Sam Houston, Texas.  Then he was sent to Vietnam and served at the evacuation hospital in Chu Lai, Vietnam, for just over a year.  He was against the war, and participated in anti-war marches in San Francisco, and I suspect that’s part of why he was drafted. After the war, he worked a lot with Veterans who had been physically or psychologically injured.  “We all get a chance. Everyone get to dance”, a part of the song, shows that the people who served for us made a change.  Now we are free.  We wouldn’t be able to do all of these things without the people protecting us.  This is why patriotic songs are good. They show what the soldiers fought and died for.