Patriot's Pen Essay Content

The 2023-2024 theme is “How Are You Inspired By America?”

Each year, Veterans of Foreign Wars recognize exceptional middle school students through the Patriot’s Pen essay contest. Every year, nearly 70,000 students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade enter to win 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.  Before submitting your essay, read the rules and eligibility requirements.

Download and complete the 2023-2024 entry form here.  

Make sure to have a picture for entries going to the State competition.

The 2023-2024 Patriot’s Pen theme is “How Are You Inspired By America?”

Kelli Kelley (Post 2667) is our Chairperson. You can reach her at

  1. State Winner of the Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest receives $500 and a plaque. This entry is submitted to VFW National for the national competition.
  2. Second place receives $200 and a certificate.
  3. Third place receives $100 and a certificate.

6th, 7th, and 8th grade students properly enrolled in public, private, parochial, or home schools in Georgia are eligible to enter the Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest. Foreign exchange students and former winners that placed at National finals are excluded. 

First place winner receives $5,000 and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C.

Look for the Patriot’s Pen in the Scholar’s App as well as

  • Entry to Post by October 31
  • Post judging completed by November 15
  • Post updates to Program Dashboard by November 15
  • District Judging completed by December 1
  • District approves Post reports on Programs Dashboard by December 1
  • State Judging completed by December 31
  • State winners to National by January 15