The Americanism program promotes patriotism and responsible citizenship by giving US citizens a chance to participate in the American Legion Auxiliary mission by feeling patriotic and demonstrating their support in an active visible way.
American Legion Auxiliary members share flag history, etiquette and proper disposal methods and promote the observation of patriotic holidays in their community. They also encourage member and their community to vote and support the amendment to protect the United States flag from desecration. The amendment currently reads, “The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.”
Additionally, the American Legion Auxiliary holds a student essay contest with a different Americanism related topic. The ALA essay contest is for students in grades 3-12 and is broken into 6 classes (See table below).
|Class||Grade Level||Word Requirement|
|I||3 and 4||150-250|
|II||5 and 6||250-300|
|III||7 and 8||350-400|
|IV||9 and 10||450-500|
|V||11 and 12||450-500|
|VI||Students with special needs||Word count should correspond with student’s grade level.|
Members of the American Legion Auxiliary are encouraged to promote pride in belonging to the world’s largest patriotic organization.
The American Legion Auxiliary is a large supporter of the American Legion Americanism programs such as American Legion Baseball, Oratorical Contest and Junior Shooting Sports.
How can we promote Americanism?
At home, if you have a flagstaff, fly our U.S. flag proudly. It is the universal custom to display the flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings or stationary flagstaffs. The flag may be displayed 24 hours a day, if illuminated during the hours of darkness. If tattered, please retire it properly. Perhaps your Post could have a flag retirement ceremony outdoors and invite the public.
Thank businesses and other residents for flying our flag. You can do this verbally if you are out, “I am a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit__________ and we appreciate your patriotism and flying our flag.” You could mail a note to Businesses (banks, car dealers, schools) that says “Thank You for making patriotism a priority and flying our U.S. Flag, from American Legion Auxiliary Unit __________. (Look for printable flyers, that can be downloaded from our website michalaux.org under Americanism Activities).
Exercise your right to vote, whether in person @ your Precinct or by absentee ballot. At Michgn.gov you can: view your sample ballot for the upcoming election, request & track your absentee ballot, verify your voter registration, find your polling place, contact your local official, find answers to frequently asked questions. If called, serve your jury duty if you are able.
Teach your children well. When the National Anthem is played, we should face the flag (or face the music if there is no flag), stand at attention and place your right hand over your heart. Veterans and current military should give and hold a military salute during the Anthem.
Watch a patriotic movie with your family and discuss it afterward. In the past few years, there have been some inspiring historical movies like: Midway, American Sniper, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Pearl Harbor, USS Indianapolis, and Unbroken. Some may not be kid friendly, but PBS may have other offerings and documentaries.
There are numerous kid friendly books available through your library (or to purchase and later donate?) For example, A is for America by Devin Scillian, This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie and Kathy Jakobsen, We The Kids by David Calthrow, Patriots Handbook by Caroline Kennedy. TAL’s own https://emblem.legion.org/ has lots of patriotic materials, including comic books and flag education.
If you know a teacher or have any school (public, private or homeschool) contacts, see if they would incorporate our Americanism Essay Contest in their curriculum. Or you could introduce this contest to your children, grandchildren, neighborhood kids, church youth group, Scouts, etc. Your Unit would have to judge the essays according to Contest rules. This contest has monetary prizes for 1st, 2nd & 3rd Place, in 6 different age/class groups. The 1st Place for each Class will advance onto the Division Americanism Chairman. The word count varies from 150-500 depending on the student’s grade. This year’s theme is: “How can we address the health and well-being of our Veterans, military and their families”?
UNITS-as an incentive for participation in the Americanism Essay Contest, this Chair will present 3 Units with a $25 reward for having 1 or more essays submitted. After promoting and receiving the essay(s) inform me, that Unit __________had this # of essays and you will be placed in the random drawing held in early April 2021. That’s it, whether your Unit had 1 or 75 entries. Mail to: Margo Forrester, 936 Ellsmere St NE, Grand Rapids, MI or email email@example.com.
This is a challenging time to promote patriotism in our communities. I urge Units to try as best you can. Read the Department Americanism Guide, track your efforts and enter our contests. Odds of winning may be better than ever.
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