7251 E. Mount Pleasant Lane
Claremont, IL 62421
“Making Life Bearable for our Veterans”
Think about this! Americanism has been defined numerous ways by many people throughout the years. Words like “spirit”, “conviction” and “allegiance” have been used. To our National Americanism Ambassador Justine Robles, “Americanism is pride and devotion.” Do you have your own definition of Americanism? It is the responsibility of Auxiliary members to teach those around them and understanding one’s personal definition will make teaching much easier.
This year the Americanism program has five areas of focus:
- Flag Education
- Promote Patriotism
- POW/MIA Recognition
- Smart/Maher National Citizenship Education Teacher Award
- Coloring, Poster and Essay Contest
I love the feeling I get when I see a huge Flag flying free. Our Flag is a living symbol of national pride and the freedoms we hold dear to our heart. We need to reach out to our communities and teach others about our Flag’s history, respect for our Flag, Flag etiquette and how to properly retire the Flag.
- Recognize businesses and individuals in your community who display the Flag. Patriotic certificates are available from the VFW Store and online at vfwauxiliary.org/resources.
- If you see a tattered or worn out Flag flying, offer to exchange it for a new one.
- Host a Flag exchange at your Post or another location in your community. Businesses and/or individuals can trade their tattered or worn out Flags for brand new ones.
- Provide a community Flag disposal receptacle to collect Flags that should no longer be displayed.
- Invite members of your community to a Flag retirement ceremony so they can learn how to properly retire the Flag.
By doing these things, we have the opportunity to educate others about our nation’s most prominent symbol and to share the great work our organization does to promote Patriotism. My house always has the great Red, White, and Blue flying proudly and I challenge you as a member of the Auxiliary to display the Flag at your house.
Patriotic holidays are a great time to involve the whole family and bring community attention to your Auxiliary. When fun events are presented to the community, prospective new members will walk through your door. Patriotic holidays can serve as a perfect way to show that your Auxiliary supports patriotism, veterans and their families as a top priority.
Whenever I’m out and I see a veteran, notice a hat, shirt or pin, I go up to that person, shake their hand and thank them for their service. We are now entering a new normal and the hand shake will probably go away. Regardless, speak to the veteran, thank them for their service and possibly hear a story.
June 14 – Flag Day
This day celebrates the official symbol for the United States: our “Stars and Stripes”. Flag Day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777.
July 4 – Independence Day
On this day in 1776, our forefathers formed a new nation by adopting the Declaration of Independence.
September 11 – Patriot Day
This day is to perpetuate the memory of those who perished in the attack on America that occurred on this date in 2001.
September 18 – POW/MIA Recognition Day
POW/MIA Recognition Day honors the commitments and the sacrifices made by our nation’s prisoners of war and those that are still missing in action. National POW/MIA Recognition Day, traditionally the third Friday in September, is one of the six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA Flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations.
September 27 – Gold Star Mother’s and Families Day
On this day, Americans are encouraged to display the Flag and hold appropriate ceremonies as a public expression of our nation’s gratitude for our Gold Star Mothers and Families.
November 11 – Veterans Day
This is an opportunity to honor the brave men and women, both living and deceased, who fought America’s battles past and present.
December 7 – Pearl Harbor Day
This day is in remembrance of the same date in 1941 that Japanese bombers staged a surprise attack on the U.S. Military and Naval forces in Hawaii. (1965 – same date is also a special day).
March 29 – National Vietnam War Veterans Day
National Vietnam War Veterans Day honors a generation of men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in U.S. history. This date marks the anniversary of when combat forces departed South Vietnam in 1973, even though some troops remained until their final departure in 1975.
May 1 – Loyalty Day
On May 1, 1930, ten thousand VFW members staged a rally at New York’s Union Square to promote patriotism. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1 st evolved into Loyalty Day.
May 15 – Armed Forces Day
A day to pay tribute to the men and women currently serving in our nation’s armed forces.
May 30 (Traditional) – Memorial Day
Patriotism calls for all citizens to be reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice.
Auxiliary members are passionate about bringing attention to former Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action by holding ceremonies to both educate their communities and honor these special veterans. One way to honor these special veterans and educate youth and the community on this subject is by having a Missing Man Table Ceremony. This practice provides a visual demonstration of the significance of POW/MIA Recognition Day.
SMART/MAHER VFW NATIONAL CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION TEACHER AWARD
The VFW annual recognizes the nation’s top elementary, middle and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics and promote America’s history and traditions. Teachers who are prime candidates for this award promote civic responsibility, Flag etiquette and patriotism. How the contest works is: VFW Posts and Auxiliaries will recognize one outstanding teacher in grades K-5, 6-8, and 9-12. The winning names must be submitted to their Districts for judging. The District winners are forwarded to Department for judging and then on to the VFW National Headquarters for the winner to be selected.
THE FOLLOWING PROGRAMS ARE DEPARTMENT PROGRAMS ONLY
COLORING, POSTER AND ESSAY CONTESTS
ALL contest entries should have the student’s name, school and grade on the BACK of the entry.
Be sure you know the deadlines for your Auxiliary, District and Department, and make sure your entries are received by the Department Chairman by April 15, 2021. No entries will be accepted after this date!
Coloring Contest: This contest is for preschool students age 3, 4, and 5 as well as those in Kindergarten. These entries should also include the students’ age. A copy of the coloring page is included.
Poster Contest: This is for students in grades 1-3. The poster should be no larger than 14” x 22” and white in color. The poster can be done in crayon, coloring pencil, marker or any other coloring agent. The theme is: Symbols of American Pride.
Essay Contest: This is for students in grades 4-5. The essay should be typed or legibly written in black ink. The essay will require a cover sheet listing the
student’s name and grade. The theme is: Honoring America’s Heroes.
Report form will be online, there is also one included in this program.
1. An award to the 1 st place winner in each age group in the Coloring Contest.
2. An award to the 1 st place winner in each grade in the Poster Contest.
3. An award to the 1 st place winner in each grade in the Essay Contest.
DEPARTMENT AWARDS FOR AUXILIARIES
1. A citation to every Auxiliary that promotes patriotic holidays in their community. Criteria and entry form (required) available at vfwauxilary.org/resources. Auxiliaries must send the entry form to the Department Americanism Chairman by March 31, 2021.
2. An award to the Auxiliary chairman who best promotes the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Program. A written report (including pictures, social media promotions, newspaper articles, etc.) must be
submitted to the Department Americanism Chairman by March 31, 2021.
3. An award to the Auxiliary chairman with the best POW/MIA program. A written report (including pictures, social media promotions, newspaper articles, etc.) must be submitted to the Department Americanism Chairman by March 31, 2021.
4. A citation to each Auxiliary 100% reported in the Americanism Program by September 30, 2020.
DEPARTMENT AWARDS FOR DISTRICTS
1. An award to the District chairman with the best overall promotion of the Americanism Program at a District Meeting. Reports should be sent to the Department Americanism Chairman after each meeting and no later than May 15, 2021.
2. A citation to the District President who is 100% reported in the program by September 30, 2020.
NATIONAL AWARDS FOR AUXILIARIES
1. Most outstanding promotion of patriotic holidays in the community.
- Citation to every Auxiliary that promotes patriotic holidays in their community. Criteria and entry form (required) available at vfwauxiliary.org/resources. Auxiliaries must send the entry form to their Department Americanism Chairman by March 31, 2021.
- The Department Americanism Chairman must send a copy of all submitted entry forms to National Headquarters by April 20, 2021.
- Citations will be mailed directly to participating Auxiliaries from National Headquarters.
- Citation and $25 to one Auxiliary in each of the four Conferences with the most outstanding promotion of patriotic holidays in the community.
The Department Americanism Chairman must sign and send a copy of the completed Department-winning entry form to the National Americanism Ambassador by April 30, 2021 for judging.
NATIONAL AWARDS FOR DEPARTMENTS AND DEPARTMENT CHAIRMEN
- Citation to each Department Americanism Chairman for participation in this Program.
- $25 VFW Store Gift Certificate to the one Department Americanism Chairman in each of the 10 Program Divisions for the best promotion of Blue Star Mothers and Families or Gold Star Mothers and Families.
- Outstanding Performance Award in each of the 10 Program Divisions based on criteria listed on page 5 and for the promotion of Program Goals on page 9 of the National Program Book.
We have provided a place here for you to download all of the information that we distribute to you through our Program Book and Bi-Monthly Chairmen’s Bulletins. You will need Adobe Reader, it is a Free program and can be downloaded here Get Adobe
2020-2021 Department Americanism Printable Report Form (click here for online reporting)