Patriot's Pen

Each year more than 165,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest for a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million 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! 

The essay contest encourages young minds to examine America’s history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, by drafting a 300 to 400 word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. Want to apply? Send us an email at and please ensure that you put Patriot's Pen in the subject line. Entries must be submitted to us via email by midnight, Oct. 31.


The 2023-24 theme is: 

"How Are You Inspired by America?"