2015-2016 National Americanism Ambassador
Americanism: National Military Family Month & Veterans Day
The definition of “Americanism” was originated by the Commander-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, United Spanish War Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, the National Commanders of the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans of the World War at the conference held in Washington, D.C. in February 1927:
“Americanism is an unfailing love of country; loyalty to its institutions and ideals; eagerness to defend it against all enemies; undivided allegiance to the flag; and a desire to secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and posterity.”
Let us keep these words and ideals close to our hearts as we host and/or assist at commemorations of Veterans Day and National Military Family Month at our posts and communities. Countless veterans have missed their child’s first words, first steps, first days of school and first ball games as they are away protecting our freedoms, our country and our flag. It is our duty to acknowledge the families who have spent so much time apart and experienced uncertainty when their loved ones took up the call of duty to our country.
Several ways to acknowledge their sacrifice include:
Invite families to an event for a home-cooked meal and provide activities for children of all ages.
Host a family game day/night with a variety of games for kids of all ages.
Offer to help with yard work so military families can spend a fun day together.
Make a “reverse care package.” The idea is to give a gift that the entire family can enjoy together. Perhaps movie tickets or a movie rental coupon, sporting or other event tickets, popcorn, candy, etc.
Host a family movie night at the Post.
Host an art show; encourage both children and adults to participate.
Host an informational fair. It could be a health fair, community service fair, education fair, etc.
When fun family events are presented to members of the community, prospective new members will walk through your door and can serve as the perfect way to show that your Post and Auxiliary holds patriotism and veterans and their families at the top of their priorities.
On Veterans Day (November 11), there will be hundreds of parades held across the country. Many of you will participate by having a float or marching in a parade, passing out American flags, having an information booth or hosting a “Buddy” Poppy® Drive. Many Posts and Auxiliaries will be hosting free meals for veterans – how awesome! Veterans Day is a great opportunity to say “thank you” and share the wonderful work your VFW and Auxiliary does in your community throughout the year. I personally believe that every day is Veterans Day and every day is a new opportunity to reach out to our veterans and their families.
It’s not too early to start planning a Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day event. Some ideas include:
Put historical information together to share with your community.
Hold a brief service to honor those who perished.
If you are fortunate to have a Pearl Harbor survivor in your community; invite them as a guest and ask them to share their experience. If they choose not to share, at least ask them to be your guest of honor at an event.
We must never forget those who gave their lives on December 7, a “day that will go down in infamy.”
Don’t forget to alert your local media (radio station, newspaper, magazine, TV station, etc.) to your patriotic events and let them know what you have planned. They may or may not attend or cover your event, but be gracious either way. If they do not cover one event, they might cover another – invite them each time! If they do cover your event, be sure and acknowledge their support with a Communications Award, available for download under “Programs,” “Resources” on the National website.
Thank YOU for what YOU do, today and every day, for our veterans, their families and our amazing organization. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.