AMERICANISM - POW/MIA

2023-2024 AMERICANISM / LOYALTY DAY/POW-MIA PROGRAM

 

AMERICANISM:

 

"Americanism is an unfailing love of country, loyalty to its institutions and ideas; eagerness to defend it against all enemies; undivided allegiance to the flag; and a desire to secure the blessings of liberty and posterity.” As American citizens and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, we know what Americanism stands for. It was, and is still, our responsibility to defend the United States in a time of peace as it is in time of war, foreign or domestic. By practicing Americanism, we show our love of Country and must do so.

The Americanism Program:

·         Promotes Patriotism by celebrating America’s Patriotic Days.

·         Teaches respect and proper care for the U.S. Flag.

·        Flag Education for Kids

·        Federal Flag Code

·         Brings attention to Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action by hosting POW/MIA ceremonies to both educate the public and honor these special veterans.

·         Recognizes the nation’s top classroom elementary, junior high (middle school) and high school teachers who teach citizenship education topics regularly and promote America’s history and traditions effectively. Teachers who are prime candidates for the Smart/Maher VFW National Citizenship Education     Teacher Award promote civic responsibility, flag etiquette, and patriotism. 

As veterans we should promote and participate in Americanism every day of every year. There are many things a Post, a District and an individual can do to promote Americanism. Here are just a few ideas. I am sure you can think of many more.

  •  Fly the American Flag every day at your Post Home or at your private residence.
  •  Present Flags to different organizations or if you see a tattered flag, donate a new one
  •  Hold flag etiquette sessions with various other organizations
  •  Encourage individuals to be informed by studying political issues and get out the vote.
  •  Furnish Color Guards for Civic Programs, athletic events and Memorial Services
  •  Remember Memorial Day, Independence Day, Patriot’s Day, POW/MIA Recognition Day, Pearl Harbor Day, Loyalty Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day and other memorial military days from our Nation’s past.

 Loyalty Day

Loyalty Day originally began as "Americanization Day" in 1921 as a counter to the Communists' May 1 celebration of the Russian Revolution. On May 1, 1930, 10,000 VFW members staged a rally at New York's Union Square to promote patriotism. Through a resolution adopted in 1949, May 1 evolved into Loyalty Day. Observances began in 1950 on April 28 and climaxed May 1 when more than five million people across the nation held rallies. In New York City, more than 100,000 people rallied for America. In 1958 Congress enacted Public Law 529 proclaiming Loyalty Day a permanent fixture on the nation's calendar.

 

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, May 30 (traditional), is a sacred day to all war veterans. America's collective consciousness demands that all citizens be reminded of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime. By honoring the nation's war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice. All U.S. flags should be displayed at half-staff during the morning hours. At noon, they should be raised back to full-staff.

 The Meaning of Memorial Day

 It’s a sacred day to all war veterans: None need to be reminded of the reason that Memorial Day must be commemorated. But what about the general public, and more important, future generations? Do most non-veterans really recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war?

 Judging from what Memorial Day has become — simply another day off from work — the answer is a resounding no. Perhaps a reminder is due, then. And it is the duty of each and every veteran to relay the message.

 Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America’s collective consciousness demands that all citizens recall and be aware of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime.

 Far too often, the nation as a whole takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. That’s why they are all collectively remembered on one special day.

 This should be regarded as a civic obligation. For this is a national debt that can only be truly repaid by individual Americans. By honoring the nation’s war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice in the memories of future generations.

 They came from all walks of life and regions of the country. But they all had one thing in common — love of and loyalty to country. This bond cemented ties between them in times of trials, allowing a diverse lot of Americans to achieve monumental ends.

 We remember the loss of loved ones, a sense of loss that takes group form. In essence, America is commemorating those who made the greatest sacrifice possible — giving one’s own life on behalf of others.

 Means of paying tribute vary. Pausing for a few moments of personal silence is available to everyone.

 Attending commemorative ceremonies is the most visible way of demonstrating remembrance: Placing flags at grave sites, marching in parades, sponsoring patriotic programs, dedicating memorials and wearing Buddy Poppies are examples.

 Whether done individually or collectively, it is the thought that counts. Personal as well as public acts of remembering are the ideal. Public displays of patriotism are essential if the notion of remembering war dead is to be instilled in youth.

 As America’s older war veterans fast disappear from society’s landscape, there are fewer and fewer standard-bearers left to carry the torch of remembrance. Such traditions will live on only if there is a vibrant movement to which that torch can be passed.

 

Flag Day

 Flag Day is June 14 and celebrates the official symbol for the United States: our Stars and Stripes. Flag Day was first recognized by Congress on June 14, 1777, which became known as Flag Day.

Not only is the U.S. flag older than the Union Jack of Great Britain and the tri-color flag of France, but also is the only flag to have been flown on the moon.

Congress first stated that there should be a star and stripe for every state. Our first flag had 13 stars and 7 red and 6 white stripes. In 1794, two new states were added and we had a flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. By 1818 there were 20 states, but our county was still using the flag with 15 stars and 15 stripes. Congress thought about having 20 stripes and agreed that it might become a problem because of its size so they passed a law that said there would be 13 stripes for the original 13 states, and they would add a star for each new state that joined the union.

 The U.S. flag is 13 stripes: seven red and six white. A blue field with 50 stars is located next to the staff in the upper left corner of the flag. It extends from the top to the lower edge of the fourth red stripe. The stars are arranged in alternating rows of six and five representing the 50 states of the United States. The stars do not represent any given state.

 The colors used in the flag give special meaning to the flag: Red for valor and zeal; white for hope and cleanliness of life; and blue — the color of heaven — for reverence and loyalty.

 The stars are an ancient symbol of the heavens. Our flag’s 50 stars represent each state as part of the nation, but also a separate level of government. Our federal government was not given the power to control, so that each state would be able to govern themselves in those things they could do better. When you are looking at the flag, you are looking at the magnificent history of all Americans who have lived before us, your own ancestors, the most enduring nation of free people that has ever existed.

 

The federal flag code says the universal custom is to display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open, but when a patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. Also, the U.S. flag should not be displayed when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.

Do you know about the 13 Folds? Do you know that every fold of the American Flag has a deep meaning?


Click here for Link to National Flag Etiquette


DISPLAYING THE FLAG

On Same Staff:
U.S. flag at peak, above any other flag.

Grouped:
U.S. flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at same height.

Marching:
U.S. flag to marchers right (observer’s left).

On Speaker’s Platform:
When displayed with a speaker’s platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff it is on the speaker’s right.

Decoration:
Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with the blue on top, then white, then red.

Salute:
All persons present in uniform should render the military salute. Members of the armed forces and veterans who are present but not in uniform may render the military salute. All other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart.

Over a Street Union:
(stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street.

Half Staff:
On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.

  • Do not let the flag touch the ground.
  • Do not fly flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
  • Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
  • Do not use the flag as clothing.
  • Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.
  • Do not use it as a cover.
  • Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow it to fall free.
  • Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag.


FLAG DISPOSAL

  1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
  2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.
  3. Place the flag on the fire. (Do not allow pictures to be taken during this portion of the ceremony)
  4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
  5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried.
  6. Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.

 

 

Independence Day

On July 4, 1776, the signers of the Declaration of Independence boldly asserted that all are "created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." With these words, our forefathers formed a new nation and put forth a vision of liberty and democracy that would forever alter history. Every Fourth of July, Americans celebrate this pivotal moment in our history, which set into motion the development of a land of freedom and opportunity unequalled in the world.

 

Patriot Day

Those whom we lost September 11, 2001, will forever hold a cherished place in our hearts and in the history of our nation. By a joint resolution approved December 18, 2001, (Public Law 107-89), Congress authorized the president to designate September 11 of each year as "Patriot Day" to perpetuate the memory of those who perished in the attack on America and to pursue peace and justice in the world and security at home. Appropriate ceremonies and activities include a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. EDT, remembrance services and candlelight vigils. Flags should be flown at half-staff on Patriot Day.

 

POW/MIA Recognition Day

 POW/MIA Recognition Day honors the commitments and the sacrifices made by our nation's prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action.

 By custom, it is on the third Friday in September.

 National POW/MIA Recognition Day is one of the six days specified by law on which the black POW/MIA flag shall be flown over federal facilities and cemeteries, post offices and military installations. Discover more about POW/MIA Recognition Day's history.

 

POW–MIA: 

All those who fought and served their country when they received the call, were men and women of courage, judgment, integrity and dedication. Where does dedication end?  You can never put an end to dedication. After all, those who remain Prisoners of War or are still Missing in Action are still serving with never ending dedication.  We can never let their sacrifices, or them, be forgotten. 

POW/MIA Certificate

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency 

Missing Man Table Ceremony

 

The following are the days that the POW-MIA flag should be flying:

Armed Forces Day – 3rd Saturday in May    Independence Day – July 4

Memorial Day – Last Monday in May           POW-MIA Recognition Day – 3rd Saturday in September

Flag Day – June 14                                    Veterans Day – November 11


 

 Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an opportunity to publicly commemorate the contributions of living veterans. Armistice Day officially received its name in America in 1926 through a congressional resolution. It became a national holiday 12 years later by similar congressional action.

If World War I had been "the war to end all wars," November 11 might be still called Armistice Day. Realizing that peace was equally preserved by veterans of World War II and Korea, Congress decided to make the day an occasion to honor all those who have served America. In 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day. (Historically, the first Veterans Day parade was held in 1953 in Emporia, Kansas.)

A law passed in 1968 changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October. It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans. Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date.

 

Pearl Harbor Day

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers staged a surprise attack on U.S. military and naval forces in Hawaii. In a devastating defeat, the United States suffered 3,435 casualties and loss of or severe damage to 188 planes, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, and 4 miscellaneous vessels. Japanese losses were less than 100 personnel, 29 planes, and 5 midget submarines.

 The day after the attack, before a joint session of Congress, President Roosevelt asked Congress for a declaration of war against Japan. President Roosevelt's message conveyed the national outrage over the Pearl Harbor attack by pronouncing December 7, 1941 "a date which will live in infamy."

 FDR expressed outrage at Japan and confidence in the "inevitable triumph" of the United States. On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war against Japan; on December 11 Germany and Italy declared war against the United States.


 

  Awards will be presented to the top Post in each division based upon the total number of creditable Americanism projects reported.  The quality of the programs will have just as much weight as the number of the programs. We want to promote accurate reporting of Americanism programs. Social media account(s) will be the primary source of verification. If your post does not have a social media account, please email proof of programs or project to the email listed below. There will be 4 divisions based upon your Posts April 30, 2024 membership. 

Divisions:                                                          

                                                I                       10-65                         

                                                II                     66-125                                   

                                                III                  126-225                                  

                                                IV                   226-over                              

           

All Post Commanders will be provided with one free citation to be issued to any person, organization, or business that properly flies the POW/MIA flag. The citations will be distributed at the Camp Trotter VTS to all District Commanders. Additional citations are available by contacting Department Americanism Director.
 
The Department will make a special award to the Post that promotes Americanism/ POW-MIA/ Loyalty Day in a new or unique fashion.  A detailed report of this project must be submitted to the Department Director via email prior to April 30, 2024. Must use "AM Special Project Post # ______" in Subject Line.
Provide detailed description of the event submitted. Number of Post and Auxiliary Members that participated. Any Public Officials that attended. Positive impact this had on your community. Pictures of the event. Lastly, what did your event do to promote Americanism/ POW-MIA/ Loyalty Day?

This will be awarded at the State Convention in June 2024.
 
Posts must be reported in Americanism every month on the Department Activities report to meet All-State requirements 
 
All POW-MIA donationsmust be sent into Department.                         

 

All POW-MIA reports should be submitted to:

Brian J. Martin, Director

2719 Chelsea St.

Trenton, MI  48183

734-558-3855

am@vfwmi.org or brianmartin6@gmail.com

                       


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Commander's Corner

Commander Ray Lopez

 

Comrades,

 

Thank you all for working so hard in your communities through advocacy and positioning your VFW Posts as a place for all veterans and their families. Our Department officers are working hard for you to meet any needs you have as you serve our veterans.


I ask you for helps in supporting a legislative initiative to provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment to Michigan veterans. Please sign this petition to let our legislators know that the VFW is supportive of this alternative treatment for veterans in need. Our voices matter, and together, our voices are louder.


I am continuously amazed by the spirit and relentless efforts you all make to serve Michigan veterans. I am so proud to be your commander and hope to see as many of you as possible at our upcoming State Convention. Thank you for your service!


Ray Lopez, State Commander, VFW Department of Michigan