Ryan D.

Second Place Winner

John F. Kennedy's account of these eight, great Americans has inspired me to pursue a career in public service.

What at first seemed like a tedious summer assignment for my AP US History class, "Profiles in Courage," has shaped my interests and my future. Reflecting on the assignment, it was relatively straightforward: twenty questions about the content of the book, but there was nothing straightforward about the content of this book. John F. Kennedy, a great statesman in his own right, wrote about eight brave men who sacrificed their political careers to do what they knew to be right in their hearts. In a profession with a reputation for sleazy back room deals and little transparency, it is all the more admirable of these men to break free from the stigmas and stereotypes. John F. Kennedy's account of these eight, great Americans has inspired me to pursue a career in public service.

Where else better to study political science than the only institution of higher learning chartered by an act of Congress, American University, the same body heroically portrayed by Kennedy. It is this heroic portrayal that has motivated me to follow in the footsteps of the likes of John Quincy Adams and Daniel Webster. These noble men brought prestige to the US Senate, a governing body now scoffed at for its spiteful gridlock. Kennedy eloquently narrated the story of eight Senators who all found the courage to take action and stand up for what they believed to be right. Kennedy's writings appealed to my intrinsic sense of patriotism and engendered in me aspirations of emulating these great statesmen. This book has incited in me a passion for politics that has forged my college decision to attend American University, the most politically active university in the nation. Its location in Washington D.C. provides premiere internship opportunities in the state department and other government agencies. My ardent desire to enter the world of politics is deeply founded in the words of Kennedy's book.

Kennedy wrote of men with uncompromising ideals who were revered for withstanding pressure to waver from the principles that guided them not only as Senators but as respectable and decent men. These eight men never lost faith and never trembled in the face of adversity. Their steadfast strength, brilliantly captured by Kennedy, epitomizes what is necessary to be a successful and capable leader, something I someday wish to be. The eight Senators are all fantastic examples of men who led by example and choose to adhere to their beliefs, not the pressure from their peers. In the words of Luscious Lamar, "Today I must be true or false," these men demonstrated immense courage and brought honor and respect to the US Senate by remaining committed to their beliefs rather than succumbing to the pressure of others. "Profiles in Courage," John F. Kennedy's tale of eight US Senators finding tremendous courage to stand up for what they believe in has inspired and motivated me to pursue a career in public service and become a leader of men worthy of the prestige bestowed upon these great men.