Francesca "Frankie" Bill
2021-2022 National Americanism Ambassador & Patriotic Instructor
You’ve Been Appointed Patriotic Instructor. Now What?
You have been appointed by your Department President to be the Patriotic Instructor. Congratulations! Now what? For some, this may be the first time you have been asked to fulfill a role at the Department level. For others, you may not be new to the role, but this could be your first experience as the Department Americanism Chairman. There may be others who have performed this function for years. You, the more experienced Patriotic Instructors, just might be the person to lean on to help newer members unfamiliar with this role. Please take the time to introduce yourself and offer to mentor the current Chairman.
Duties of the Patriotic Instructor
The 2021 National VFW Auxiliary Bylaw Section 820 Duties of the Patriotic Instructor states:
- They shall see that the room is in keeping with the Ritual.
- They shall instruct the members in the proper use of and salute to the Flag.
- They shall maintain a record of all patriotic days and initiate programs for their proper observance and perform such other duties as the President may require.
Below are a few tips for Patriotic Instructors to show in proper respect to the Flag:
- When the Flag is displayed and the National Anthem is played and/or sung, all those present should face the Flag and salute.
- When the Flag is not displayed and the national anthem is played and/or sung, all those present should face the music and salute.
- Members should stand when the Flags are moving.
Further tips follow for Patriotic Instructors in showing proper respect to the Altar and Bible:
- Members shall remain seated while the Chaplain opens and closes the Bible, provided the Colors are not at the Altar.
- Whenever the Chaplain is opening and closing the Bible, everyone should stop all movement and talking.
- Members shall not cross between the President’s station and the Altar. This is considered sacred ground symbolizing where our comrades have answered the final roll call and been laid to rest. The only time crossing this area is allowed is when the Bible is closed.
Additionally, Patriotic Instructors may assist in addressing the President and making a motion:
- All remarks must be addressed to the President and not by one member to another. Any member who wishes to address the President will rise and say, “Madam/Mister President,” but may not speak further until she or he has been recognized by the President.
- All members have a right to make a motion. To do so, they shall stand and be recognized by the President before proceeding with the motion.
The Patriotic Instructor is responsible for communicating patriotic days of observance and leading programs honoring these special events. The VFW Auxiliary National website provides background of the Patriotic Days listed below:
- Veterans Day – November 11
- Pearl Harbor Day – December 7
- Washington’s Birthday (Presidents Day) – Third Monday in February
- National Vietnam War Veterans Day – March 29
- Loyalty Day – May 1
- V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) – May 8
- Armed Forces Day – Third Saturday in May
- Memorial Day – May 30 (Traditional); Observed Last Monday in May
- Flag Day – June 14
- Independence Day – July 4
- Patriot Day – September 11
- Constitution Day and Citizenship Day – September 17
- POW/MIA Recognition Day – Third Friday in September
- Gold Star Mother’s/Family’s Day – Last Sunday in September