VFW Patriots Pen web site


VFW Oklahoma is proud to offer the PATRIOT’S PEN essay contest!

Each year more than 132,000 students in grades 6-8 enter the VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. The national first-place winner wins $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. The first-place winner from each state competes for national awards totaling $55,000, with each first-place state winner receiving a minimum of $500 at the national level. 

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? Read the rules and eligibility requirements and download the entry form and brochure before submitting your entry to your local VFW Post. 

The 2018-19 theme is: 
Why I Honor the American Flag

 About the 2017-18 winner …

Karolina Mazur, an eighth-grade student from Glyndon, Md., was named the 2017-18 Patriot’s Pen first-place winner. Her essay on the theme, “America’s Gift to My Generation,” won her a $5,000 award. Karolina was sponsored by VFW Post 521 and its Auxiliary in Owings Mills, Md.

Watch Karolina deliver her winning essay, or see the complete list of 2018 national winners.


The Patriot’s Pen program is open to students in grades 6-8 (by deadline), who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial school or home study program in the United States and its territories. 

Click here to access the Patriot’s Pen 2017-18 entry form and brochure. 

Ask your teacher if your school is participating.  You can still enter if they are or not.  If you experience problems with downloading or printing the application, please try to access the entry form using Internet Explorer.  If you continue to experience problems, please contact your local Post.

Mail your completed application and speech to your local VFW Post

The 2018-19 theme is: 
Why I Honor the American Flag

Students can ask a teacher or youth group leader to supervise their progress in the competition.  

Essays must be no less than 300 words and cannot exceed 400 words. They should be submitted to your local VFW Post, along with the completed Patriot’s Pen entry form no later than the November 1 deadline.

Knowledge of the theme is worth 30 points. You must show a thorough 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 ideas is worth 35 points. Write your essay in an easy-to-understand format. Leave your reader with a clear understanding of your explanation of the theme.