Americanism Action Plan
Chester, SD 57016
Hello my name is Joyce Smith and I am so excited to be able to represent you as the department chairman for Americanism. Our Americanism Program promotes patriotism and responsible citizenship.
What can you do?
As Auxiliary members we need to be knowledgeable on flag history, flag etiquette and the proper disposal methods of our torn and flags in unfit conditions. By teaching the proper handling, displaying, and respect for the American Flag, as well as our National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance we promote Americanism.
As Auxiliary members we need to practice respect for our flag at sporting events and other public events. We could sign up at www.legion.org to receive notification on when to display our flag at half-staff.
As Units and Members
We can recruit others to support the flag amendment by explaining what it is and why it is important. Sign up for The American Legion’s Legislative action alerts and follow flag issues.
We can work with local schools to further education of the Constitution, either whole or in part such as the Bill of Rights or the Preamble.
We can always fly a flag at our home or business as another really good way to promote patriotism. By voting and encouraging other to vote is also a good way. We can visit schools and give some basic facts about our flag, Our National anthem and when & why we stand and put our hands over our hearts at parades and ball games.
We can contact and ask state and federal representatives to support any and all flag amendments.
Those of you who have a green thumb can volunteer to keep up the area around the flag pole at your Community’s civic government area by planting seasonal flowers and collecting trash.
Our support of Junior Shooting spots, the promoting of gun safety and marksmanship training for our youth is another way we as Units and Members can promote patriotism. We also need to support our local American Legion baseball Teams as another way to promote our patriotism.
We should encourage our school age children in our local school to participate in the Americanism Essay Contest and The South Dakota Americanism Poetry Contests and the Oratorical Contests. As members we can encourage our children & grandchildren to participate in the essay contests. We can also Help Judge the essays. This year’s Essay Contest Theme is:
“What can I personally do to promote Americanism in my school or community?”
The contest shall include six classes
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 Word count should correspond
Special needs with student’s grade level
Students with special needs are defined as:
· Those in special education classes.
· A student recommended for special education classes, but who has not been admitted due to a waiting list or various other factors.
· A child identified as having a disability, but not in a special education class due to lack of facilities; identification contingent upon discretion of school officials.
Student Awards: Americanism Essay Contest
Type of award: Citation, $50.00 prize and additional $50.00 donation added to the Children of Warriors National Presidents’ Scholarship Fund.
Presented to: 30 students total, six from each division, one student for every class in each division
· Entries must include the Americanism Essay Contest cover sheet found in the Americanism Annual Supplement to the Programs Action Plan.@ALAforVeterans.org
· Unit winners are sent to the department Americanism chairman, (me) following department guidelines.
· For deadline and division Americanism chairman contact information, please refer to the Americanism Annual Supplement to the Programs Action Plan@ALAforVeterans.org
· National winners will be informed of their award via communication from National Headquarters. The award check will be mailed directly to the student and the citation will be forwarded to the department for presentation.
· While ALA representatives will do their best to return all essays it is not guaranteed. We recommend participants retain a copy of their submission for their own records.
Unit Presidents, please have your Mid Year reports to your District President by November 15th, 2017, and District Presidents I need your Mid Year Reports no later than December 1st, 2017. The Unit President's should have the Year End Reports sent to your District President by April 15 2018, and the District President's need to get the Year End reports to me by May 1st, 2018.
Please be as timely as posssible as I need time to get my report written and in to the National Chairperson. Thank you in advance for your promptness in getting the reports in on time. You can mail them to me at Joyce Smith, P. O. Box 182, Chester, SD 57016. Or at A.L.A., P. O. Box 41, Chester, SD 57016. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Annual Reports reflect the progress of the program at the units and districts level.
As part of your narrative report, please include answers to the following questions:
· How did you promote the Americanism essays contest?
· How did units promote the flag program?
· How did you promote patriotic holidays?
· How did units encourage support of the flag amendment?
· Did units support The American Legion Americanism programs? How?
· How did units promote Americanism in their community?
Taking the time to share a favorite story about the positive impact you or someone you know has had on our mission is worth doing! It helps us tell the world who we are, what we do, and why we matter. Just three simple steps to add your part to our national success story:
1. Please follow instructions as you fill out the National Report and awards Cover Sheet found in the awards section of the Programs Action Plan
2. Provide details/examples about the activity as outlined in the award’s materials and guidelines section.
3. Submit as indicated in the annual supplement to the Programs Action Plan.
What to Write in an Americanism Essay
Like every nation, the United States has a diverse and complex culture. There’s been an enormous amount of cultural, political, and demographic change in America since its founding, even for such a relatively young nation. It can be intimidating to try to write an essay about what defines America as a culture. Fortunately, however, a few key themes have dominated discourse about what it means to be an American, from its early days under British rule until now. Here are some themes you can write about in an Americanism essay:
- The American Dream: This was defined when Thomas Jefferson wrote than man had inalienable rights to “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It has long been thought that with such freedom, anyone can become anything they want in America if they only work at it.
- The Melting pot: Even though America has always been a nation of immigrants, it has a unique and identifiable political culture centered on the idea of democracy. Any group can be considered “American” if they adopt these same ideals. Recently this notion has been challenged by the idea of “multiculturalism,” which states that differences in values among distinct cultures should be preserved.
- American Exceptionalism: this is the idea that America is a “shining city on the hill,” and that it has a mission to spread its values of democracy, liberty, and individualism to the rest of the world.
- Suspicion of government: America is in the unique position of being founded upon rebellion, when they rejected British rule that they thought had become tyrannical. The U.S. constitution is based on the idea that a government should have limited and defined powers.
- Capitalism: for better or worse, America has historically been devoted to free markets and private property, an economic philosophy known as “laissez-faire.” Communism or socialism has historically been considered “Un-American.”
- Rugged individualism: this is closely related to the idea of American Dream, in that it focuses on the achievements of the individual. It asserts the values of self-reliance, independence, personal liberty and individual rights. The founders of the American republic were influenced by natural rights philosophers such as John Locke, who argued that human beings had an innate right to their own person and property that was the result of their labor. This has deeply informed the American ideal of the individual.