Each year more than 138,000 students in grade 6-8 enter the VFW's Patriots' pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $900,000 in state and national awards. Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000 and  an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C.

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America's history, along with their own experiences in modern America society, by drafting a 300-to-400 word essay, expressing their views based on patriotic theme chosen by the VFW commander-in Chief.
The Patriot's Pen program in open to 6th- 7th and 8th grade students enrolled by the Oct. 31 deadline in public, private, parochial school, or home study program in its territories or its possessions. Dependents of the U.S. military or civilian personnel in overseas schools are also eligible to participate.
Download and complete the Patriot's Pen entry form and Brochure. Essays must be no longer than 300 words and can not exceed 400 words. They should be submitted to the VFW Post  12101, along with the completed Patriot' Pen entry form no later than October 31 deadline. Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise thier progress in the Completion.

Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points. You must show a through knowledge of the theme in your work. Demonstrate you have researched the issue extensively.  Theme development is worth 35 points. Answer all relevant facts about the theme such as the who, what, where, when, and why. Relate the theme to your own experiences. Clarity of ideals is worth 35 points. Write your essay in an easy-to understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of you explanation of the theme.
Click here for entry form