Americanism Essay Contest 2014-2015

Committee Chairman:
S/M Rex Faubion (Branch 104)
818 23rd St NW
Puyallup, WA  98371-3988

2017-18 Essay Contest information

This year’s essay contest theme is: “What Does Patriotism mean to Me?”


Northwest Region 2016-2017 Essay Contest Winners
Essays have been judged at the Region level and the first place winners have been forwarded to National.

7th Grade:
First – Emma Richards,  Culver Middle School, Branch 055.
Second – Anna Salame, Kailua Intermediate, Branch 046
Third – Julieona Shields, , Post Falls Middle School, Branch 038

8th Grade:
First – Thomas Middleton,  Horse Heaven Hills Middle School, Branch 038
Second – Christa Bledsoe,  Grangeville Elementary and Middle School, Branch 063
Third – Andrei Calucag, Holy Family Catholic Academy, Branch 046

9th Grade:
First – Rex D. Pelker III, Clackamas High School, Branch 055
Second – Rebecca Harris, Home School, Branch 104
Third – Sarah P. Crosby, Home School, Branch 245

10th Grade:
First – Megan Goertz, Medial Lake High School, Branch 038
Second – Paige Ohman, South Kitsap High School, Branch 029
Third – Phillip Meng, Union High School, Branch 055

11th Grade:
First – Benjamin P. Crosby, Home School, Branch 245
Second – Maggie Ching, Moanalua High School, Branch 046
Third – Ian T. Moan, Port Angeles High School, Branch 174

12th Grade:
First – Adam Skelton, South Anchorage High School, Branch 342
Second – Joshua Corgatelli, Moscow High School, Branch 063
Third – Angie Brasher, Home School, Branch 104

2016-2017 Nat’l FRA Essay Contest Winners
NWR Essay Contest Winners 2016-2017
FRA National HQ Essay Contest Information Page
Essay Cover Sheet (rev 06/15)
2016-17-FRA-Essay-Contest-Flyer– “What Does Memorial Day mean to me?”

Past Essay Contest Results:

2014 NW Regional Essay Contest Winners
2015 National Essay Contest Winners from the NW Region
“Why I’m proud to be an American”

2013 NW Regional Essay Contest Winners
2013 National Essay Contest Winner from NW Region
“What does the Bill of Rights means to me?”

2012 NW Regional Essay Contest Winners
“What does my vote mean to me?”

2011 NW Regional Essay Contest Winners
‘What Does Freedom of Speech mean to me?’

The Americanism/Patriotism Committee Chair is responsible for:

FRA CB&Ls Section 814. Duties of the National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism

Section 814(a). The committee shall consist of one member from each region. Terms shall be for three years with three members being replaced or reappointed each year by the National President. Its duties shall be to encourage the regions and branches to honor the flag of the United States of America; to observe the anniversary of distinguished persons and events in our history; to work in and encourage the participation of others in civic programs; and to foster the principles of our founding fathers as expressed in the Constitution of the United States of America.

Section 814(b). The National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism shall conduct an Americanism Essay Contest, each year, in accordance with the provisions of the appropriate standing rule.

Section 814(c). The Americanism-Patriotism Committee shall encourage the regions and branches to honor our departed shipmates in the manner so eloquently expressed in the Preamble to the Constitution of the Fleet Reserve Association and in the appropriate rituals provided for such solemn occasions. Guidance should be provided on how such activities should be conducted in conjunction with community observances whenever possible.

FRA Standing Rule 7(d). Americanism-Patriotism – There will be three annual Americanism-Patriotism awards; The Walter D. “Step” Rowell Award, The Leonard D. “Swede” Nelson Award and the Robert E. Doherty Award.

  1. Walter D. “Step” Rowell Americanism-Patriotism Award. The Convention Americanism-Patriotism Committee shall select the branch with the best overall Americanism-Patriotism Annual Report as the winner of The Walter C. “Step” Rowell Award. This is a perpetual award and will be retained at the National Headquarters with the plate being engraved each year. The branch winning the award will be issued an appropriate engraved plaque.
  2. Leonard D. “Swede” Nelson Award. The Convention Americanism-Patriotism Committee shall select one of the membership group “Shipmate of the Year” recipients to receive The Leonard D. “Swede” Nelson “Shipmate of the Year” Award for Americanism-Patriotism.
  3. Robert E. Doherty Award. The Robert E. Doherty Award shall be awarded to a Shipmate also nominated for national recognition deemed deserving of special recognition by the National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism.

FRA Standing Rule 12 – Americanism Essay Contest
The National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism shall conduct an Americanism Essay Contest each year, open to all students of grades seven through twelve. All entries shall become the property of the Fleet Reserve Association.

SR-12(b). Seven themes for the essay contest shall be used on a rotating basis. Those themes shall be:

  1. What Freedom of Speech Means to Me
  2. What My Vote Will Mean to Me.
  3. The Bill of Rights And Me.
  4. Why I Am Proud to Be an American.
  5. What The United States Flag Stands For.
  6. What Memorial Day Means to Me.
  7. What Patriotism Means to Me.

SR-12(c). Duties and responsibilities of the National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism in conducting the Americanism Essay Contest:

  1. Should the National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism determine a more suitable theme for a given year be more appropriate, they shall include the recommended theme in their annual report, two years in advance, for approval of the delegates to the national convention.
  2. They shall develop, approve and submit a draft of its poster for the following year’s contest to the National Headquarters by 15 January.
  3. They shall draft, approve and submit a covering letter, including contest rules, to the National Headquarters by 31 March for publication in the July issue of FRA Today.
  4. The chairman shall submit a proposed budget for the next fiscal year, including appropriate awards for a maximum of nineteen recipients, to the Chairman, National Committee on Budget and Finance annually prior to 1 April for approval of the delegates with a copy to the Finance Officer
  5. The chairman shall announce the contest winners and forward the appropriate awards to the sponsoring branches not later than 20 May
  6. The chairman shall submit a list of essay contest winners and a copy of the overall winning essay to the National Headquarters no later than 15 June for publication in FRA Today.

SR-12(d). Essay Contest Rules:

  1. All entrants shall be students in grades seven through twelve (or equivalent)
  2. Entrants must be sponsored by a branch of the Fleet Reserve Association or a unit of the FRA Auxiliary.
  3. The essay shall be on the theme designated and shall not exceed 350 words.
  4. The essay shall be legibly written or typed on one side of the paper.
  5. A student may submit only one entry each year.
  6. Each entry must be accompanied by a separate sheet stating the entrant’s name; address; zip code; telephone number; school grade (or equivalent); name of school or words “home schooled;” number of words in essay; and the sponsoring branch/unit or sponsor’s name.

SR-12(e). Receipt and Judging:

  1. Entries submitted to branches shall be submitted to the branch Americanism-Patriotism Committee and postmarked not later than 1 December for judging at the branch level.
  2. The branch Americanism-Patriotism chairman will forward the branch first place grade winning essays to the regional Americanism-Patriotism chairman, postmarked not later than 1 February.
  3. Entries sponsored by Membership At Large (MAL) members shall be submitted to the National Headquarters addressed to Americanism Essay Contest. The essay will be forwarded to the branch secretary of the participating branch closest to the residence of the essayist. All entries shall be postmarked not later than 1 December
  4. Regional Americanism-Patriotism chairmen shall have the essays judged and submit the first place winning essay in each grade group to the National Americanism-Patriotism Chairman, c/o Fleet Reserve Association, 125 N. West Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314-2754, not later than 1 March.

SR-12(f). National Administration and Judging:

  1. Upon receipt in the National Headquarters of the Fleet Reserve Association, the regional winning essays shall be reproduced and the originals shall be retained at the National Headquarters. Copies of each essay and the identification sheets will be forwarded to the Chairman, National Committee on Americanism-Patriotism. Each grade winning essay shall be assigned a number by the national chairman and a copy of each winning essay and a copy of the national judging form shall be forwarded to each member of the national Americanism-Patriotism committee.
  2. Each national committee member shall judge the essays, giving consideration to neatness, originality, and sincerity and choose a first, second, and third place winner in each grade group and an overall best essay from the first place winners.
  3. The national Americanism-Patriotism chairman shall be informed in writing of each committee members choice (by assigned number) of the winners in each grade group and the overall winner not later than 15 April.

NW Regional Standing Rules
The Regional Chairman of the Committee on Americanism-Patriotism; Hospital, Welfare and Rehabilitation; Public Relations and Youth Activities shall be responsible for compliance with the appropriate sections of SR-7, FRA, pertinent to Regional Chairmen and for the administration of regional awards outlined in RSR-6.
The Regional Chairman and committee on Americanism-Patriotism shall be responsible for compliance with the provisions of SR-12, FRA, pertinent to the Americanism Essay Contest and the administration of the Regional Americanism Essay Awards.

Committee Chair:

S/M Rex Faubion
Mt. Rainier Br#104
818 23rd St NW
Puyallup, WA 98371-3988


#PleaseStand with us today!

The official PSAs and newsrelease available online HERE.

– Commander Polk’s letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell
– Download a printable version of the ad: PDF version | JPEG version
– Signup for our e-newsletter to stay informed.
– Please contribute to this program today!
– If you are a veteran, JOIN US!

The Future of Our Military Starts with “Americanism”

The number of American citizens who qualify to join the military under current standards is quickly decreasing as the country faces the longest period of armed conflict in its history. As a consequence, service members must go on multiple deployments as the attrition rate rises faster than recruitment, forcing too many units to rely on unfit, unstable, and unprepared service members who put themselves, their comrades, and our country at risk.

When the United States ended the draft after the war in Vietnam, many assumed that American citizens would raise their right hand, take the oath to protect the country, and serve in uniform out of a sense of patriotism. After the Twin Towers were attacked by terrorists on September 11, 2001, this assumption was put to the test — and the result remains a disappointing reality as less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has answered the call.

Despite the shortage of qualified and willing talent, wars in the Middle East and parts of Africa have placed demands on the military like never before, threatening morale, discipline and effectiveness. Examples include multiple suboptimal policy changes such the provision of waivers to enlist high school dropouts, felons and others normally not qualified; increasing soldiers’ deployments from 12 to 15 months; and “stop loss” orders that froze discharges and kept families apart for longer periods.

So what can be done? Will Congress bring back the draft? Highly unlikely, and unlikely to work even if it did. The Department of Defense estimates that 71 percent of the roughly 34 million 17- to 24-year-olds in the United States today would fail to qualify based on the current enlistment criteria because of physical or mental health issues, low education scores, or negative background checks. Among those who are qualified, many young people choose not to join or feel no obligation to serve in uniform. This has to change, and AMVETS has made it its mission to do so, starting with outreach to primary, middle, and high school students through the AMVETS Americanism program.

Inspiring a sense of patriotism in American children of all ages and walks of life is the best recruiting strategy for our future military and national defense.

What is the AMVETS Americanism Program?

The AMVETS Americanism Program is a patriotic program the organization offers schools and youth organizations as a resource for teaching children in kindergarten through 12th grade about their American heritage, civics and citizenship. The program includes flag drawing, poster and essay contests that are grade specific and age appropriate.

Who is eligible?
All school age children, K-12. They may attend public, private, parochial schools or may be home schooled. Participants may also come through any youth group such as Scouting or from Church Sunday schools. Students in kindergarten–1st grade can enter the Flag Drawing contest. Students in 2nd–5th grades can enter the Poster contest. Students in 6th–12th grades can enter the Essay Writing contest

How does a child or young adult participate?
Teachers or youth group leaders hopefully will take the initiative to involve their students. The program addresses learning standards in civics and presents excellent topics for writing and art assignments, which teachers can incorporate into their classes.Teachers may also contact a local AMVETS post or department to invite veterans to visit their classes. Students whose teachers or schools are not participating in the program can still enter the contest specific to their grade as a take-home or after-school project. Parents may contact a local AMVETS post or department, on behalf of their children, to submit entries or contact the AMVETS National Programs Department at 301-683-4031.

How do I enter?
Entry forms (PDF files) with contest rules, including the “themes” can be downloaded by clicking on the link below:
Americanism Contest Packet – PDF file (1.23 MB)

The 2017-2018 Americanism theme is “Why is the Constitution important to me?”

Our future themes are:
2018-2019: “Why should you say ‘Thank you’ to a Veteran?”
2019-2020: “What does freedom mean to me?”
2020-2021: “What do I think of when I see the American flag?”
2021-2022: “Why should we honor and respect our Veterans?”

Additional Resources:

Click here to see a list of the 2017 winners.

AMVETS is a member of the Citizens Flag Alliance

Testimonials from our patriots…

5 November 2017


Thank you for sponsoring my trip to Valley Forge. Over the week I have made a lot of friends and learned so much about American history. The experience has been amazing and one I won’t soon forget. Thank you again so much for this opportunity!

Thomas Borre, Indiana


Thank you for the opportunity to come to Pennsylvania this weekend, November 2nd through the 5th. It is an opportunity that I will never forget and I will take the lessons I learned here and use them for the rest of my life. This past weekend has been super informative and the lessons taught were very beneficial. Some of the workshops gave me some ideas that I may want to do when I am older. I loved the mock trial and learning how amendments are made. Learning about our government was super cool. I also loved coming out to Pennsylvania and seeing the places where our nation began. This will forever will be a memorable time in my life and I will never forget the memories made with my new friends in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.

Sincerely, Madison Hilgenkamp, Nebraska


Thank you so much for selecting my essay for the National Americanism Essay Contest on the topic of “Why is it important to vote?” as winner for New York State. I am incredibly grateful and deeply indebted to you for having such faith in me and for thinking that I deserve such a rare opportunity. To be perfectly honest, I have never won anything on such a large scale or been selected for anything like this as an accolade for my work. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I will always cherish and remember your organization for facilitating my first big success. The program itself was incredible and I learned so much and met so many wonderful, unique people. This weekend has been one of the best weekends of my life and it will stay in my memory forever.

Sincerely, Mary Donnelly, New York

Dear Amvets,

Thank you for offering all of us the opportunity to be able to travel to the birthplace of our nation. We were able to visit Valley Forge, where the minutemen and George Washington went to. We visited one of the most important places to U.S. history. We were in the room where it happened. Where the Declaration of Independence was signed, where the Constitution was signed [and] where the Constitutional Convention happened. So many places where history was made. It was an honor to be at a place where once, some heroes like Hamilton, Jefferson, and Washington once stood. The history of this place is amazing and overall awesome. I have taken lots of pictures that I will go share. Besides the history of this amazing place I was also able to see all different types of cultures [from] around the U.S. I met some [people] from N. Carolina, Connecticut, and New York, and I met some new people from California. I hope everyone here truly enjoyed this experience, because this was one of [my] best memories. As a[n] Immigrant of Mexico, this place makes [me] feel proud of the country I moved to and hopefully this Nation will continue to prevail. And that this Nation Under God will continue to succeed and the government of the people, by the people, and for the people will never perish. THANK YOU!!

Jorge Ochoa-Reyes, California

Lucas is a proud, young American, and winner of AMVETS’ recent Americanism poster contest.

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