Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition encourages students to use their minds and knowledge of America’s history and their experience of today’s American society to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. We invite you to join more than 120,000 students who participated last year in this contests.


Patriot’s Pen gives 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students the opportunity to express their opinion on a patriotic theme and improve their writing skills, while they compete for awards and prizes. The awards from all levels of the competition total $1.2 million each year.


The National Association of Secondary School Principals has placed this program on their National Advisory List of Contests for participation.

The contest is open to all students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades in public, private, parochial schools, as well as, home-schooled children in the United States and its territories or its possessions and dependents of U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools.

Former first place state winners are not eligible to compete again. Foreign exchange students and adults are not eligible to compete. Although U.S. citizenship is not required, students must be lawful U.S. permanent residents or have applied for permanent residence (the application cannot have been denied) and intends to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.

Brochures on the program were mailed to all Post Commanders and Auxiliary Presidents. Schools should be contacted as soon as they open for the current year in order that the teachers can include the contest in the lesson plans. Posts are responsible for giving their area schools Patriot’s Pen pamphlets.



· Must be TYPED in English, BLACK INK ONLY

· Must be 300-400 words in length. Word count does NOT include the title or footnotes.

· NO Graphics allowed

· Contestants will NOT identify themselves within their essay to include, but not limited to, their name, school, city, state, race, or national origin.

· Official entry form included with Essay. Form may be printed online at

· Three typed copies of the Essay

 PATRIOT’S PEN Deadlines:

Midnight, October 31, Entries to the Post*

November 15, Completion of Post judging**

December 15, Completion of District judging**

December 20, District winning entry due to Department Chairman*

January 10, Completion of Department judging**

January 15, District participation reports to Department Chairman**

January 15, Department winners to National*

January 31, Department reports to National*

*required deadlines

**suggested deadlines


Click here to view the Rules & Eligibility Requirements: Patriots-Pen-Rules-and-Eligibility.pdf


Click here to download the Entry Form: Patriots-Pen-Entry-Form-Fillable.PDF



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