Land of the free, indeed.
Dawson County High School senior Andrew Hinton won an all-expense paid trip to Valley Forge, Pa., after penning an essay on American patriotism.
The contest, which was sponsored by the American Legion, gave Hinton the opportunity to speak his piece on national values and what they mean to him.
Hinton, 17, traveled to Pennsylvania’s Valley Forge National Historical Park on March 4 with three other students from Georgia who also won. They joined other students from around the country.
Hinton, a young history buff, said visiting the historically rich location was “a blast.
“I learned a lot about our nation, but I learned just as much about the people in other states,” he said. “Everyone made fun of my accent, and I made fun of everybody else’s accent. It was funny.”
Hinton said he made a number of friends on the three-day trip.
“Most everyone that was there was trying to figure out a way to get together this summer, because we didn’t have enough time to hang out while we were there,” he said.
Social time was only half the fun for Hinton. He spoke with excitement about participating in a “mock congress,” taking a citizenship test and signing his own copy of the Declaration of Independence.
“We also got to see where George Washington trained his troops, and we got to see a firing demonstration by Colonial and British re-enactors.”
Hinton was also introduced to re-enactors playing the roles of Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.
“They gave us a lecture, and they’d argue back and forth, and that was kind of funny,” he said.
Mother, Lauren Hinton, said her son “had a great time. He spent a lot of time talking about it when he got back home.”
Andrew Hinton is considering putting his passion for history to use by becoming a teacher one day.
“Either that or a veterinarian,” he said.
He has plans for college when he graduates, but hasn’t settled on one just yet.