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VFW Lilac Post 5815 and Ladies Auxiliary
VFW Ladies Auxiliary

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Patriot's Pen Essay Contest

WHAT IS THE PATRIOTS PEN PROGRAM? - Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students in grades 6 through 8 an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy and patriotism with the prospect of winning money for college.

The top 46 national winners all receive at least $500. The first-place award is $5,000 plus an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the winner and a parent or guardian.

The theme for Patriot's Pen for 2013-2014 is "What Patriotism Means to Me." To qualify, all entries must be submitted to a sponsoring VFW Post by November 1, 2013.

The entry form which also shows the complete contest rules and how essays are judged can be downloaded from this website.

Students in the Lombard, Illinois, area should download the form 2013-2014 Patriot's Pen Entry Form and send it to a sponsoring VFW Post in their area. THE RULES Each student should complete and sign the student entry form portion on Page 1 of the form, staple the form to the essay, and sent it to the VFW Lilac Post 5815, Patriot’s Pen Chairperson, P. O. Box 1912, Lombard, IL 60148, by November 1, 2013. Be sure to read and follow the rules on this website and on the entry form.

The essays are evaluated by members of the Post and Ladies Auxiliary. The winners at the VFW Lilac Post 5815 level each receive a small cash award, the opportunity to advance to the District (regional) level, and an invitation to a party in January 2014 for the winners, along with their parents and teachers.

THE RULES
Who can enter? - Patriot’s Pen is open to all students who are in grades 6, 7, and 8 in fall 2012 and are enrolled in public, private, or parochial schools in the U.S., its territories or its possessions. Home-schooled students also are eligible. Dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools can participate too. (Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed in the National finals are excluded from the contest.)

What do I need to enter? - All essays should be typewritten in English with no color or graphics and cannot be less than 300 words or greater than 400 words in length. (Essays under or over these word amounts will be eliminated.) Every word is counted regardless of length. The essay title (theme) or added footnotes do not contribute to the word count.

In no way may contestants identify themselves in their essay. Do not put your name on your essay. The entry form is your essay’s cover sheet. Secure the Official Student Entry Form with a staple or other fastener on top of your essay. Essays must be written exclusively for this competition. Use of the same essay for other competitions will result in disqualification. Contestants are allowed to enter only once (one Post competition). Contestants found in violation of this rule will face elimination from the competition and will be required to return any and all prize money awarded or received. The essay must be a contestant’s original work and a product of the contestant’s own thinking. The approach to the Patriot’s Pen theme should be positive and clearly focused. Poetry is not acceptable. Quotations may be used sparingly if plainly identified wherever used. A contestant’s teacher, counselor, or parent may check the essay for punctuation, grammar, and/or spelling; but the content must remain the contestant’s. Contestants will be judged on the basis of their essay alone and are not required to present the essay orally. All essays become the property of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The VFW retains non-exclusive rights to use your essay and likeness in the promotion and execution of the organization’s programs and activities.

The photos below were taken at the Patriot's Pen Award Dinner on January 30, 2010.

Chris Breyne, Evan Grove, George Miller

Patriot's Pen, a VFW-sponsored essay writing contest, is a nationwide competition that gives students in grades 6,7, and 8 the opportunity to write essays expressing their views on democracy.

George Miller, Commander of VFW Post 5815, and Chris Breyne, its Ladies Auxiliary President, present Evan Grove with his award as the VFW Post 5815 winner in the 2009 Patriot's Pen contest. The theme for the 2009-2010 contest was "When Is the Right Time To Honor Our Military Heroes?"

These pictures were taken at the dinner on January 30, 2010, for all the Patriot's Pen winners in the 19th District VFW and Ladies Auxiliaries. The 19th District winner then goes to the state competition in Springfield, IL.

From left to right are George Miller, Chris Breyne, Evan Grove, Sue Grove, Perry Grove, and Julia Grove (Evan's parents and sister).

This page was last updated October 31, 2013.