As I try to compose my thoughts about this mystique called "Americanism,” I find it extremely difficult to record my feelings. I do not consider myself an emotional man, but this subject stirs up serious conflicts within me. Perhaps the best way to define what Americanism means to me is to discuss some of these conflicts.
My countrymen, the first claiming source of Americanism was written in framing the Federal Constitution in 1787. The pilgrims signed their simple and suggested covenant a whole century and a half before, and set aflame their beacon of liberty on the coast of Massachusetts. Other pioneers of New World's freedom were rearing their new standards of liberty from Jamestown to Plymouth for five generations before Lexington and Concord heralded the new era. It is all American in the best and result, yet all of it lacks the soul of nationality.
In simple truth, there was no thought of nationality in the revolution for America's independence. The colonists were resisting a wrong, and freedom was their solace. Once it was achieved, nationality was the only agency suited to its preservation. Americanism really began when robed in nationality. The American Republic began the blazed trail of representative, popular government. Representative democracy was proclaimed the safe agency of highest human freedom. America headed the forward procession of civil, human, and religious liberty which ultimately will affect the liberation of all mankind. The Federal Constitution is the very base of all Americanism, the ark of the covenant of American liberty, the very temple of equal rights. The Constitution does abide and ever will, so long as the Republic survives.
Let us hesitate before we surrender the nationality which is the very soul of highest Americanism. This republic has never failed humanity, nor endangered civilization. We have been tardy sometimes — like when we were proclaiming democracy and neutrality, and yet ignored our national rights — but the ultimate and helpful part we played in the Great War will be the pride of Americans so long as the world recites the story. We do not mean to hold aloof, we choose no [isolation], we shun no duty. I like to rejoice in an American conscience, and in a big conception of our obligation to liberty, justice, and civilization — aye, and more. I like to think of Columbia's helping hand to new republics which are seeking the blessings portrayed in our example. But I have a confidence in our America that requires no council of foreign powers to point the way of American duty.
We wish to counsel, cooperate, and contribute, but we arrogate to ourselves the keeping of the American conscience, and every concept of our moral obligation.
While I burst with pride over my birthright and heritage as an American citizen, I carry a deep shame for the way some of the races and creeds that make up our glorious American "melting pot” have been treated. I feel a special pride for the United States Naval uniform that I once wore. Conversely, I have felt a special shame when I have seen that uniform degraded by the actions of my fellow sailor while guests in foreign countries that I had a chance to visit in middle East. Have had the opportunity to see much of our vast and beautiful land of the many countries we as a ships company visited many places most people never get the chance to visit this would make any man or woman feel proud. I am becoming increasingly aware of the abuse being wrought upon our land, our air, and our resources. What a terrible shame!
I have a tremendous sense of accomplishment over what my country has done in over the 200 years. No other country in the world can match our national inventiveness and energy. However, any concerned American knows there is much to be done, much to be corrected, and much to be learned. But this can’t be done by one person it’s going to take all of us as a team to change what Americanism means.
By choice, I am an American fighting man. My country expects — and will receive — complete loyalty from me. As an American citizen, I am often angered and hurt by the actions and policies of this country’s leadership. When this happens, I do not hesitate to express these feelings through my vote.
I have a great love for all the people of this country. I love all the talented nationalities from around the world who have come here to live and contribute. I love my black, brown, red, and yellow brothers and sisters who are such an important part of our heritage. I love most all of the beautiful religions that are practiced in America today. But I have one deep-rooted prejudice toward a tiny segment of our society that is growing within me like a cancer. Regardless of race, color, or creed, I have only sheer disgust for the American who drops out. Anyone lucky enough to be born and raised in this great country has no moral right to drop out. He owes a debt. Payment of this debt does not necessarily mean serving in the armed forces or the Peace Corps.
There are other ways, such as: assuming responsibility for his actions; exercising his precious right to vote; and just plain getting involved with what is going on around him. So, what do these contradictions mean to me? Americanism and America are old and beloved friends to me. I can see their faults as well as their attributes, but the love will always be there.
I thank God every day that I can say, "I AM AN AMERICAN!”
Well, there you have it. As I see Memorial Day is a lot more than car races, ball games, and back-yard cookouts. Personally, my weekend’s highlights will be the National Memorial Day putting out over 4400 flags on grave of falling comrades at the Highland Memorial Cemetery in Mt. Washington Kentucky.
For credit in Americanism, a project must be of a patriotic nature. We’re looking for things like flag presentations, parades, presentation of patriotic literature, patriotic ceremonies in schools or youth groups, and public observances of national holidays. Each project must benefit the greater community not just the Post or Auxiliary. Fundraising projects, even those whose proceeds are earmarked for Americanism programs, are not in themselves creditable Americanism projects. However, the project that receives the funds, when complete and if it meets the Americanism criteria, can qualify for an Americanism credit.
Examples of Disallowed (things that don’t count)
1. Any project for yourself or member of the VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit or Jr. Girls.
2. Reciting the Pledge to the Flag at a Post monthly meeting.
3. Sending a "Get Well” card to a member of the VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit, etc.
a. Shopping for the "Get Well” card above
b. Post office visit to mail the "Get Well” card above
c. Providing the car to deliver the "Get Well” card above
4. Any activity that is obviously within the scope of another previously reported project (example, see 3a, 3b, 3c above)
5. A flag raising ceremony at the Post, unless attended by persons outside the VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit or Jr. Girls
6. Purchasing a replacement flag for the Post
7. Running an errand for or giving a ride to a VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit, etc.
8. Honor Guard posting colors at a VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit, etc. meeting or ceremony
9. Giving a certificate to a VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit, etc.
10. Donation to a VFW, Auxiliaries, Motorcycle Unit, etc.
The Community Service Chairperson will validate and verify each entry to ensure that it meets all requirements for Community Service as outlined.
Header: Fill in District, Post#, Reporting From and To Dates.
Activity Description: Briefly give a detailed description of the activity within the appropriate category. DO NOT list each person/persons involved specifically
Hours: Please indicate the total hours of all volunteers expended on the project. Round up to whole hours- no minutes.
Money: Please indicate the total amount of funds expended to support this activity. Round up to whole dollars. Do not calculate hours into a dollar amount, only list money actually spent.
Mileage: Enter the miles from and to the activity (Round Trip) - round up to the nearest whole number – no tenths. If more than one mode of transportation was used – then combine the mileage.
Projects: How many projects did it take to complete objective.
Members: Please indicate the total amount of members involved with activity.
Future Events: Please indicate if you request any external resources or would like to invite District/Dept Leadership to an upcoming event.
Signature: Please indicate who prepared report, their title within post and date
After completion of all descriptions, calculations, etc. send to Department Headquarters ONLY
EMAIL TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Remember to keep a copy for Post records
· Community Service Reports should be sent by Post Community Service Chairperson or Commander
The IRS will use your meeting minutes to verify you meet the standards of community service for non-profit organizations. To remain within the spirit and intent of the VFW Charter a Post is granted through the VFW 51% of monetary donations should be to VFW programs.
Important Note: Each Post can have their non-profit status revoked by the IRS if they "Fail to maintain adequate records to accurately report your exempt purpose and activities that supports your exemption un-der code section 501 (c) (19).” The first item the IRS will ask for during an audit is evidence of community service. All community service items should be recorded in the Post meeting minutes, which is the second item the IRS will ask for.
Those Posts that have maintained a properly organized and complete Community Service Record Book and produced it for the IRS during an audit have never had an issue in verification of fulfilling the objectives of their charter from the National VFW.