Essay Contest Entries

  • Fri Aug 21st, 2020 2:43pm
  • Life

Last week’s Forks Forum featured the first and second place winning essays, from the recent Forks Forum Essay Contest. A panel of three judges made the decision with regard to the two winning essays, the essays were numbered and those judging did not know the authors of the entries. Here are the other entries that were submitted, in alphabetical order. Thanks again to all!

Essay – Washington’s Inaugural

“ …..The propitious smiles of heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of Order and Right which Heaven itself hath ordained……”

I do not profess to be an expert on the topics of Civics or Government nor do I have the mystic power to analyze the minds of our first President or the Founding Fathers. For over twenty-some years they debated the human condition of the colonies in order to construct documents that would be consistent to the betterment of all men. The end result was a Republic that dedicated itself to ingrain the Order of Right, as expressed and identified, in the philosophies from Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas( basically God’s or spiritual Laws, and upon that premise added principles and outrages ) Through Thomas Paine’s’ “Common Sense”. A Republic was consummated, as each representative of our fledgling Nation added debate and conclusion to what would be the Constitution and later our Bill of Rights. Washington, as the moderator of the formation of our Constitution, saw the constant struggle between good and evil within the fellowship of man in our beginnings and alerted our Senate and House of Representatives to uphold, protect and foster, by word and deed our Republic and its principles, the cornerstone being the eternal rules of Order and Right. (as Lincoln later correctly identified as “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness for all, and Equality for all mankind regardless of Race, Religion or National Origin”)

Although the phrase is accepted as religious in nature, the eternality of it lies within each of us as the human condition constantly begs us to treat others as we would be treated, help those in distress, elevate the human condition of those less fortunate than ourselves to ensure that Our Bill of Rights and Constitution are relevant. This message must be continually delivered to those we have chosen to lead and represent this experiment we call democracy.

Before my mind returns to a state of Jell-O, and my ranting become un-intelligible and I re-write this short synopsis of April 1789 for a fifth time, I will respectfully sign off…………..What about the Supreme Court and the amendments and the…….Oh never mind.

Your Humble fellow citizen

W.C. Skip Barnes, Forks

The First Inaugural Address of George Washington

April 30, 1789

Our separate colonies had just become an independent and united nation in spite of many difficulties. There was a lack of finances and sources of supplies for the small, ragged army. Also there was a division of the people of those colonies, those in favor of independence and the Tories that were in favor of the English rule and controls.

Part of his speech included the following statement: “I behold the surest pledges, that as on one side, no local prejudices, or attachments; no separate views, nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities and interests: so, on another, that the foundations of our National policy will be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private morality; and the pre-eminence of a free Government,” end of quote.

He also said, and I quote, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of Order and Right which Heaven itself hath ordained.”end of quote.

Does this statement of “ propitious smiles of Heaven” have a deeper meaning? He included in this statement eternal rules of Order and Right. This along with the other quoted statement defines to a large part the meaning of Order and Right, “no local prejudices, or attachments; no separate views, nor party animosities, will misdirect the comprehensive and equal eye which ought to watch over this great assemblage of communities.”

It appears that the Order and Right in the mind of George Washington was such that the governing bodies of this nation were not to dictate or control the rights of the people. The young nation had people of different views and desires. The Tories wanted to have English rule and control by the King of England. Those that stood up for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution that was ratified on June 21, 1788 were supporting this new government. They were not to persecute the Tories or others that disagreed with them nor the other way around.

The propitious (favorable) smiles of Heaven will not, nor can they be expected to look kindly on nations that do not uphold the rules of Right and Order. Do these words have any application to today’s America?

Let us take a serious look at our nation as it now exists. 1- We have minorities taking their problems to the courts to establish their rights. This is appropriate, but the results of the courts are such that the rights of the majority are taken away and forbidden. That is not right or appropriate. 2- We have a treasury that is close to bankruptcy due to the extensive national debt. 3- The morality of this nation is on a steep downhill slide to corruption and immorality. 4- Our nation appears to be in the worst state from this COVID 19 pandemic., a pandemic that is costing this nation unbelievable amounts of expenditures and loss of revenues.

Compare our situation with Rome at the start of the fall of that nation. The historians, Will and Ariel Durant said, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.” Other historians believe that Rome “brought it on themselves, that is, they ensured their own collapse by either misguided policies or degradation of character.” One historian, Harper, made some interesting conclusions about the fall of Rome when he wrote, “increasing reliance on slave labour, excessive spending and taxation to pay for a decadent diet of “bread and circuses” and “it was pandemic diseases”. Diseases brought back from the limits of the empire that helped to bring down Rome.

The guilty ones include those that stood on one side or the other of the persecution equation. But it also includes the silent majority that stood on the side or sat on the fence and ignored what they saw as not good and said nothing.

Do President Washington’s comments have any application to our nation of today? Absolutely. We need to follow the examples of our founding fathers and call our nation to stand up for the rights of everyone and learn to live within our means. Then we can begin to correct our indebtedness, accept the rights of each other and use good common sense to control our part of this pandemic.

The changes to bring about the return of a just nation is a huge undertaking and it needs all of us to work together. It requires all of us, regardless of color, race, religion or personal opinion. If we do not stand together, we die together.

Milton. M Beck, Forks


George Washington was a highly intelligent and respected president. He would have painstakingly prepared his inaugural speech and believed in every word he spoke on April 30, 1789.

He realized that the success of a nation could not depend solely upon his shoulders, but greatly upon the shoulders of its citizens.

He believed in a supreme being and realized the importance of having Heaven smile upon the United States of America. He wanted Americans to understand that the key to obtaining these smiles require obeying the rules designed in Heaven, for us on earth.

To believe that Heaven’s rules are for our benefit, and to have a desire to obey them, it is necessary to believe in God.

When we consider the complexity of nature, it is hard not to believe in a creator. The complexity of a human brain, alone, is mind-boggling. There are approximately 86 billion neurons in a single human brain. Neurons are just one aspect of a brain.

Were it possible to have a count of all the brains there ever were, from the beginning of life to the present, in every form of life, and multiply that count times the number of neurons for each particular brain, the number would be staggering. How likely could it be accidental for that many neurons to be made and perform in such an astounding manner?

Then consider the entire human body. It makes good sense to believe that we are made in the image of God. Consider every aspect of nature. Amazing can only begin to describe it. I am convinced that there has to be a master architect, to not only design nature, but create it.

I call that master architect “God”. In his infinite glory and capability, I want His smiles upon me. That is why I try to please Him by abiding by his eternal rules of Order and Right which Heaven itself hath ordained.

If we want Heavenly smiles upon our nation, good citizens, George Washington handed us the key. Let’s stand for what is right and all be Good Samaritans. Unity is our strength. May God bless America.

Nancy J. Butler, Neah Bay

Essay – Washington’s First Inaugural

After a protracted war for independence and eleven years of inefficient government provided by the Articles of Confederation, an executive branch was established under Article II of the United States

Constitution. Almost two years after its writing, Washington became the first and only President elected unanimously by the electoral college.

He did not seek the position, and few would argue that it was still his civic duty to accept the office, considering his previous service. Certainly, Washington wished to validate and encourage the formation of this republican government by assuring the national legislature who witnessed the first inaugural address that the country was on the right path in its attempt to promote a ‘more perfect union.’ More certainly, he approved of a government that divided delineated powers granted to three separate branches of that government, with checks and balances against any abuse or overreach of those powers.

To be sure, he was implying that this nation would prosper because of its commitment to a long list of virtues adhering to principles such as justice, equity, perseverance, compassion, tolerance, and dedication. Most certainly, he was prescient in that sentiment.

With regard to the depth of this brief excerpt, one could easily allege hypocrisy considering his ownership of slaves, his relative success and prosperity, or his perceived lack of compassion in ordering the execution of soldiers under his command in two separate wars.

Yet he was a product of his era, imbued with the aura of his time. He was as human as any of us. As such, we should not look past the intent of his words to negate respect for what he was attempting to imply, nor to justify tearing down any statues of him.

He was a man with human imperfections and a deep, sincere sense of loyalty and commitment. Neither should we read more into the words by searching for meaning he may have hidden.

The words speak for themselves and we are free to apply our own interpretation or expansion.

As with all cogent words and phrases, there is ample room for current application. Washington’s words beg the question, “do you have a moral compass?” If so, it must have a magnetic pole or it would waver with any foreign interference, the same as a ship without a rudder would be blown in any direction of the wind.

He chose to name Heaven as the source of eternal rules. Given the fact that he identified as a Christian, it’s safe to say he also recognized the Judeo-Christian construct of God, adhered to acceptance of the Ten Commandments, and honored the belief that a Christ-like personality is a desirable goal. Any public intercourse should then demonstrate such traits and be guided by that standard. We desire traits of consistent integrity, judgment and wisdom to be evident in those we elect to office as well as in those with whom we associate. If we are discussing the hottest topics of the day, we want to know who we are hearing and by what polar star they are navigating. Otherwise, it is useless to place any faith in their currently espoused conviction.

VJ and Sandra Giles, Forks

Washington’s Inaugural

On April 30, 1789, George Washington gave a speech at his Inaugural and he spoke these famous words, “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of Order and Right which Heaven itself hath ordained.” These were powerful words, spoken by a great leader, who I believe was a man that truly wanted our country to stand on Biblical principles.

Do I think there was a deeper meaning to George Washington’s word? Yes, I do believe there was more to his words. I feel like he is insinuating that we as a Nation need to remember that God will not bless a people that don’t regard His commandments and rules that God himself set for us to follow.

We were always meant to live as a nation that follows biblical truths so that we have a solid foundation to stand upon. This could not be more obvious from the thoughts and writing of our founders. The Pledge of Allegiance has repeated for nearly seventy years, “…one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”, which intends that if our country were to live by Gods commandments, there would not be so much division among us.

We would walk in freedom and everyone would receive justice equally, as is our natural right presented in the Declaration of Independence. In today’s culture, I truly believe that George Washington’s words still apply, as much now as ever before in American history. Perhaps more than ever, we need God and His wisdom, which also means His commandments. We as a nation have taken God almost completely out of the picture.

Now that we are not standing on what our forefathers tried to establish there has been a ramping up of chaos while freedoms that we once had are being taken away. There is so much obvious hypocrisy today and yet we all want deeply to be strong and kind and genuine. Our people are divided instead, and let’s not underestimate the sickness and disease of both body and mind that is burning through our nation and the world.

We were once a light for all people. Not our wealth or power, but our national commitment to these ancient ideals and truths. We as a people need to return to what we were meant to be once again, and that is to be a nation established in God’s eternal truths.

Still proud to be an American –

Teresa Hestand, Forks