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Voice of Democracy winner speaks about hope for the future during Farmington's Patriotic Day

Farmington High School senior Josh Wilson acted as master of ceremonies during the Patriotic Day Celebration ceremony held in a packed recital hall. Kara Hildreth / contributor1 / 4
Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Denny Schulstad spoke on how the U.S. can come together to preserve all freedoms Thursday evening during the annual Patriotic Day Celebration held at Farmington High, where this year's theme focused on patriotism. Kara Hildreth / contributor 2 / 4
Farmington High senior Conner McCarthy played “Taps” with fellow senior Jacob Johnson playing the echo on his trumpet in the background during the ceremony. Kara Hildreth / contributor 3 / 4
Farmington High Men's Choir sang "Glory, Hallelujah" and "The Saints Go Marching In" under the direction of Brian Ohnsorg during the program. Kara Hildreth / contributor 4 / 4

Farmington High senior Anna Urbach challenges all to play an active role in closing the equality divide in the United States.

"According to Ronald Reagan, all great change begins at the dinner table," said Josh Wilson, senior at Farmington High who acted as master of ceremonies at the Nov. 9 Farmington Patriotic Day Celebration.

Prior to the program, the community gathered to share in conversation and enjoy a free pork chop dinner served by volunteers, civic leaders and Farmington Yellow Ribbon Network.

During the ceremony, Wilson personally thanked his grandfather, Paul Wilson, who was greeted with applause for his service as a veteran.

Voice of Democracy

Farmington social studies teacher Jon Holmes introduced Urbach as the Voice of Democracy essay winner. The Voice of Democracy is a nationwide scholarship program sponsored by the VFW that began back in 1947.

This year's theme is "American History: Our Hope for the Future."

"I like to know what is going on in the world and the country and recently I found our country and the world is struggling with equality between genders, race and religion, and our country has overcome so much to address this issue," Urbach said.

"Many people know from the beginning that treating others differently because of appearance or origin is inhumane and wrong," Urbach added.

Some Americans may have taken a longer time to come to that realization of equality, "but the point is our country decided to be different," she added.

"We wanted to welcome anyone and everyone to come live here and we wanted a safe place for those who wanted the rights," Urbach said. "We went out and demanded it for everyone, and America was this hope for paradise where you could come and be accepted for who you were, at least that is what I thought we were," Urbach said.

"It doesn't matter if someone is a different race or a different gender, works a different job or practices a different religion — it does matter because in the end we are all people," she added.

The U.S. constitution confirms freedom and equality, Urbach said, adding most religions and most Americans' personal beliefs align with freedom and equality.

Urbach made a call to action: "Maybe someday our country will be a little more equal because all it takes is one person to call out someone's ignorance or silence their own and one person from stopping a little hate from entering this world and maybe that can be you."