2017 – 7th Grade National 4th Place Winner
Ella Fleming, New York.
Actions Express Priorities
June 28, 1914
The Archduke Ferdinand’s car turned the corner, he cried out to the driver they had gone down the wrong street; as they backed up he was assassinated. This action started the First World War an event which sparked some of the most brutal moments in our world’s history. Simultaneously, speeches across Europe were aiming to initiate the same anger and result, but we don’t remember those speeches. Instead, we remember the actions that affected history. Actions and words are always linked, they are both ways that we communicate with each other and change the world. But actions, both good and bad, have left footprints in our history that will never be forgotten because they still affect millions of people today in ways that words never will.
People say “talk the talk and walk the walk.” For example, if you write a book about kindness, then you should be kind yourself, or if a politician campaigns on listening to the people, then they should listen to the people. Our society values actions more than words because they make change, they start something immediately. Words are hollow unless they are followed up by action. You can say you’ll make complete peace in the world, but until you start trying to do that with actions you haven’t yielded any results that affect anyone.
In the words of writer and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say”. While people can quote the words of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech, the actions of American society mean we still struggle with institutionalized racism, and millions of people are still discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. You can ignore someone saying they are going to punch you, you’ll block your ears and run away, but if someone is standing in front of you punching you in the face, that’s a harder thing to ignore.
Actions have a longer more substantial change to our history than words ever have. Our actions are irreversible changes but words can only hope for what actions can achieve. The effects of our actions can’t be ignored, and the actions of the Archduke’s assassin from 103 years ago still touches millions of people today. I live in a world where actions are valued more than words, where I learn about how the Battle of Waterloo changed Europe, how Hitler’s invasion into Poland started WWII and how slavery still affects thousands of people through institutionalized racism. In the words of Mahatma Gandhi “Actions express priorities”, priorities words will never have.
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