2020-2021 National Americanism Ambassador
Americanism has been my favorite Program since I was a little girl when I had the honor to be introduced to – and join – the Junior Girls. I continued to hold the Americanism Program very near and dear to my heart throughout my journey in the VFW Auxiliary.
As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary Americanism is “an attachment or allegiance to the traditions, interests, or ideals of the United States.”
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Americanism is a question of spirit, conviction, and purpose, not of creed or birthplace.”
To me, Americanism is about pride and devotion; pride in being from and living in the United States of America, and devotion to our Flag and our nation’s traditions. I believe that every day can – and should be – a patriotic day. Show your patriotism by flying the Flag, thanking a veteran or service member, and helping them as your time and talents allow.
There are many patriotic holidays throughout the year when we can promote Americanism. This is a great way to involve families and the community, and bring attention to our organization. Now, more than ever, we need to practice, teach and recognize Americanism. As members of the VFW Auxiliary, we need to spread patriotism within our Posts as well as our communities! September’s patriotic holidays include Patriot Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day and Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day.
Patriot Day – September 11
Let us not forget the lives lost on this day. Let us show how united we can stand on this day – just like we did on that dreadful September day in 2001. Though we have to maintain social distance, and not gather in large groups, we can still show how united we are by flying our Flag, hosting or participating in an outdoor ceremony and/or making a tribute video and sharing it on social media.
POW/MIA Recognition Day – September 18
Auxiliary members are passionate about bringing attention to Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. One way to honor these veterans is to educate youth and the community about who POW/MIAs are. This can be done by holding a Missing Man Table ceremony at a restaurant, hospital, library, community center or assisted living facility. Leave the table set for a week or so; display a list of each item’s significance for people to read. The table provides a physical and visual reminder of POW/MIAs and that we will never forget their sacrifice.
Gold Star Mother’s and Family’s Day – September 25
Let’s talk about the stars, and I’m not talking about the ones in the sky or the ones in Hollywood! I’m talking about the ones we should honor and respect. Our Blue, Gold, Silver and White Stars. What does each one mean? What do they represent? How do we honor and recognize them? Let us remember that these families, be it Blue, Gold, Silver or White, have given unselfishly to our country.
We, as a country, owe our Gold Star Mother’s and Families a debt that can never be repaid. We must honor them and their loss by making sure their loved one is never forgotten. Try and find your local Gold Star Mother’s and Families. Ask them their Stars’ name, a bit about their Star and tell them you will never forget. Ask how you can honor them and their fallen service member’s memory. (When honoring these families there should be no applause.) You could plan a socially distant ceremony or reception at a local park or outdoor location and present them with a certificate in their honor. Let them know that we, as an organization, will never forget their sacrifice and their Star.
Keep Americanism Alive
It is our responsibility as Auxiliary members to keep Americanism alive! How you ask? There are many ways to do this, including:
- Practice with both new and seasoned members Flag etiquette, e.g. how to properly display the Flag, retire the Flag, or stand and salute for the Flag.
- At the end of each meeting, gently remind members what patriotic holiday is next.
- Teach the youth of America. Set up a day and time to instruct youth on Pledge of Allegiance, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” even how to fold or retire the Flag.
- Recognize members of the community who promote America’s patriotic traditions and show honor and respect to our Flag. A simple “thank you” and a citation go a long way!
- Use social media to share information about patriotic days. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat and YouTube are the most used.
Information and brochures can be found on the Resources page of the VFW Auxiliary website. Please download and distribute!
Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award
Effective this Program Year, the VFW has updated the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award program. There will not be a National Teacher of the Year. Each Department winner submitted to VFW National Headquarters will receive a citation for the teacher and their school. These will then be forwarded on to the Department Headquarters for presentation
I look forward to hearing from you! I want to know what you are doing to promote Americanism. May God Bless America as we honor “Our Mission to Serve Veterans” and always remember to stay true to the Red, White and Blue!
A is for Army, they know their stuff;
M is for Marines, they really are tough;
E is for Eagles, the force of the air;
R is for righteousness and all that’s fair;
I is for invisible, that’s our Navy at sea;
C is for Coast Guard, efficient as can be;
A is for America, whose Flag is unfurled,
that describes America folks, the best in the world!