Americanism Committee

Phone: 740-362-7478 | Email: legion@ohiolegion.com

The American Legion is an organization dedicated to God and country, with a membership of military veterans who take deep pride in the U.S. Flag and all that it means. Since its inception nearly 100 years ago, the Legion has been a stalwart champion of patriotic values, morals, culture and citizenship. The Legion’s pillar of Americanism embodies its devotion to law and order, the raising of wholesome youth, an educated and law-abiding citizenship, and respectful observance of patriotic holidays and remembrances.

» Download the Americanism Facts Booklet

Future Leaders Return from Washington D.C

The 2021 Americanism and Government Trip has returned from Washington D.C. and was a huge success. 19 of the top winners of the A&G test were selected for this trip to Gettysburg and Washington DC. The students this year were….

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  • Adam Harr- Post 635, District 1
  • Trenton McCann- Post 633, District 7
  • Cody Carr- Post 217, District 2
  • Melanie Clark- Post 196, District 13
  • Lydia Ackerman- Post 405, District 5
  • Siara Eggleton- Post 25, District 7
  • Benjamin Saunders- Post 373, District 1
  • Will Clouse- Post 354, District 5
  • James Kelley- Post 681, District 4
  • Brianna Fitzgerald- Post 493, District 2
  • Sophie Lin- Post 614, District 12
  • Mia Hilkowitz- Post 681, District 4
  • Thomas Sibert- Post 217, District 2
  • Garret Ault- Post 357, District 10
  • Jeremy Reynolds- Post 287, District 1
  • Caitlyn Hopple- Post 357, District 10
  • Ellyana Zeller- Post 441, District 1
  • Athena Souder- Post 354, District 5

 

The American Legion trip is not like the typical 8th-grade trip most Ohio teens experience. We have a smaller group of students and focus on history, Americanism, and respect for the men and women who have given their lives for our freedom.

Day 1 of the A&G Trip is in the books, and we are WHOOPED! The Gettysburg Cyclorama was so amazing to see, and the battlefield never disappoints. There is so much history to learn, and of course… you can’t have too much Abraham Lincoln in Gettysburg. The young leaders have just made it to their home away from home so they can rest and recharge for tomorrow.

 

Good Morning Legionnaires, ladies, and gentlemen! Today is the day, Arlington National Cemetery! There will be no mistake which group is representing The American Legion Department of Ohio today, we are always the best dressed!

Day 2 consists of our favorite, Arlington National Cemetery. This year may look different, but we plan on making the best of it. Although The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers is closed, we will still pay our respects at the cemetery… with our Plan B.

Day 2 of our A&G Trip has come to a close. Today was a pretty busy day for our young leaders.

First stop was Arlington National Cemetery. We visited JFK’s grave, as well as Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

One of our students had mentioned that his grandparents were buried in section 32. So Jeremy kindly invited us to pay our respects to his grandparents with him. We were so grateful to share that moment with him.

Since The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers was closed to the public, we wanted to keep up the 85 year tradition of a wreath laying. So we decided on paying our respects to an Ohio native.

Forest E. Everhart Sergeant, United States Army: born in Bainbridge Ohio on August 28, 1921. Forest earned the Medal of Honor in World War II while serving with Company H, 359th Infantry, 90th Infantry Division near Kerling, France on November 12, 1944. The Medal was awarded on September 10, 1945.

Forest E. Everhart, Thomas M. Barford, and every single Veteran resting in Arlington, we humbly thank you for your service.

The afternoon consisted of visiting the Iwo Jima Memorial, National Basilica, Albert Einstein, National Cathedral, Capitol (as close as we could get), Vietnam Wall, Lincoln Memorial, and Korean Memorial.

Tomorrow, we will be visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello along with many other monuments and memorials.

 

Day 3 of our A&G Trip is complete. Today was an AMAZING day!

We started our day by visiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Before we left, we got to meet Thomas Jefferson himself!

We had lunch at Michies, visited the WWII Memorial, and then went to go visit the replica of “TJ’s House”, aka the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.

This evening, dinner was a special one. Post 2 in Washington DC offered to feed us, and Post 8 in Washington DC offered to let us use their space to eat. They rolled out the red carpet for us and made us feel so special! The Commander of Post 2, Commander of Post 8, Department Commander, Department Auxiliary President, and Detachment Sons of the American Legion Commander all served us dinner. The Commander of Post 2, Post 8, and their Department Commander are all female veterans! We also tried to make some magic happen when we heard the National Commander and President were in town as well. Unfortunately, the National Commander was unable to attend because he was preparing for testimony tomorrow. However, the National Commander sent his Aide Larry to meet with us, and National Auxiliary President Nicole Clapp snuck away to spend some time with our young leaders as well.

This evening was the definition of “Legion Family”! So many people came together to welcome and congratulate our young leaders! It was a beautiful thing to see.

They are now tucked safely in bed with full bellies and happy hearts.

Tomorrow morning we will be visiting Mt. Vernon, and then seeing where the day will take us.

 

That is a wrap for Day 4 of our A&G Trip.

We started the Day at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon. We had a quick chit chat with Martha Washington as soon as we walked in, and she gave us permission to tour the mansion she owned with her husband and 1st President of the United States, George Washington. The property was HUGE and the scenery was beautiful. We definitely enjoyed sitting in the sun on the back porch.

After constantly checking the news and seeing that there was no threat in the Capitol, we ventured in the city.

The International Spy Museum was a hit and taught all the students a thing or two about the history of spying.

The FDR Memorial, MLK Memorial, Eisenhower Memorial, and Law Enforcement Memorial were the last stops before dinner.

Tomorrow we make the trip home, but not before stopping at Flight 93.

 

The final stop on our 2021 Americanism and Government Trip was the Flight 93 Memorial in Stoystown, PA.

Thousands of people died on 9/11, but thousands more would have died if it weren’t for the actions of those 40 passengers aboard Flight 93.

This stop was a good reminder to be grateful.

A common field one day. A field of honor forever.

Now, on our way home to Columbus.

 

Well…. the 2021 Americanism And Government Trip has come to an end. All of our young leaders have been returned to their parents in one piece.

Every year I say that we have a great group of students, and this year I can say the same. These are once again the definition of young leaders!

Ellyana, Thomas, Athena, Garret, Mia, Jeremy, Sophie, Will, Brianna, Ben, Melanie, James, Lydia, Adam, Siara, Trenton and Cody…. you all will do great things and I am so glad I got to know you! Thank you for listening to “my great ideas” and having fun with it.

I’m sure I can speak on behalf of all the chaperones when I say, thanks for making the 2021 trip amazing! You are all very appreciated!

Until next year.

-Christie

 

I would like to take a moment of personal privilege….

I feel like I started to get to know these students before I even met them. Looking at their tests, reading their bios, etc.
Their tests, do not do them justice. Their bios do not do them justice. They are so much more than words on paper. They are smart, so so smart. They are funny, confident, empathetic, caring, and overall amazing individuals. When I say young leaders, I mean that whole heartedly. They are the future, and they WILL make a difference in this world. I promise you that.

My advice for you young leaders…. always be kind, be confident in your response even if your response is wrong (the worst thing that can happen is that someone says no. But every no is a learning opportunity) and believe in yourselves.

Keep an eye on these young leaders, they are going places.

John Glenn once said, “The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds.” So please go inspire the future generations. I know you have inspired me.

Thank you!

 

Also, thank you to Department 1st Vice Commander Jean Wilson and Auxiliary President Kristen McLaughlin for being this year’s chaperones.

 

Christie White

Americanism and Children & Youth Coordinator

The American Legion Department of Ohio

Americanism & Government Test Program

55th Year of Operation

The Americanism and Government Test program of the Ohio American Legion was created by Legionnaires of Ohio in 1936 and remains today as another of the leading youth programs of the Ohio American Legion.

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Although created by the Ohio American Legion, the Americanism and Government Test program is a joint venture and partnership with the Ohio American Legion Auxiliary, which is a cosponsor of the program.

The Americanism and Government Test program is open to students in grades 10, 11, and 12. Students in grade 9 may take the test for practice only.

The Americanism and Government Test is a fifty (50) question test comprised of True/False, multiple choice, and fill-in the blank.

A three hundred (300) word essay is also part of the Americanism and Government Test and every student taking the test writes on the same essay topic.

The essay is utilized in the various judging levels of this program as a Tie-breaker.

The essay topic is selected/written each year by members of the Department Americanism Committee and Department Americanism Director.

A feature of the Americanism and Government Test is that the students themselves do not advance in the competition, the student’s test paper does.

The Americanism and Government test is NOT designed to have one student compete against another. It is designed to test an individual student’s knowledge of the following:

The United States Flag The Declaration of Independence The United States Constitution State government in Ohio County government in Ohio
City government in Ohio Township government in Ohio Village government in Ohio School District government in Ohio

The 50 questions of the Americanism and Government Test are written in such a manner to be current and topical to events, studies, and information being presented in Ohio high schools and events happening in the state of Ohio and the nation.

On average, over 65,000 students participate in the Test program annually.

Through a number of judging levels in the state of Ohio to select Post, County, and District winners, the initial field of 65,000 students is narrowed to 84 district winners, whose winning test papers are submitted to a State Judging Committee for this program.
From the field of 84 District winners, the State Judging Committee selects 18 winners in the following categories:

  • Grade 12 (Seniors): Six (6) State winners/three (3) men and three (3) women
  • Grade 11 (Juniors): Six (6) State winners/three (3) men and three (3) women
  • Grade 10 (Sophomores): Six (6) State winners/three (3) men and three (3) women

The State Award from the Ohio American Legion for the 18 State winners is a five (5) day, all expenses paid trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. under the direction of the Department Americanism Director, accompanied by representatives of the Ohio American Legion and Ohio American Legion Auxiliary.

A highlight of the trip is a Wreath Laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

The Ohio American Legion and Ohio American Legion Auxiliary have had the honor of laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns every year since 1936.

An objective of the Ohio American Legion through the Americanism and Government test program is that if by taking the test a young person is inspired to learn more about government, the United States, and to appreciate the freedoms enjoyed by the nation’s citizens, the effort put forth by the Ohio American Legion and the Ohio American Legion Auxiliary is worth the expense.

The Americanism and Government Test program is unique to the national America Legion organization as only two other states, Indiana and Wisconsin, have versions of the program, which both adopted/adapted from the Ohio American Legion, but neither program is the size or scope of the Ohio program.

American Legion Buckeye Boys State

81st Year of Operation

Click here to download the BBS Pamphlet

The American Legion Buckeye Boys State program is an eight (8) day “hands-on” experience in the operation of the city, county, and state levels of Ohio government, the organization of Ohio political parties, and the relationship of one to the other for young men coming out of their Junior year of high school.

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Through the Buckeye Boys State objectives of “learning by doing” young men attending the Buckeye Boys State program will learn more about city, county, and state government in eight days than they would in an entire semester of high school.

Conducted annually in mid-June, the American Legion Buckeye Boys State program is conducted on the campus of Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio and is open to young men who have completed their junior year of high school prior to the start of Boys State and will be Seniors in the fall.

The American Legion Buckeye Boys State program is the largest Boys State program in the nation with an annual attendence of over 1,200 of the top high school juniors in the state of Ohio representing 600+ high schools in the state and the home schooled community.

The American Legion Buckeye Boys State program is regarded within the national American Legion organization, and in education circles, as the #1 Boys State program in the entire nation.

The Sons of The American Legion, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the Ohio State Bar Association, and the agencies/departments of Ohio government are partners in the American Legion Buckeye Boys State program.

For a complete overview of the American Legion Buckeye Boys State program and detailed information on every aspect of Buckeye Boys State, click on the link provided: www.ohiobuckeyeboysstate.com

The Ohio American Legion Auxiliary conducts a similar program for young ladies called the American Legion Buckeye Girls State and is conducted at Mount Union University in Alliance, Ohio. www.buckeyegirlsstate.org

High School Oratorical Contest

32nd Year in Ohio; 78th Year Nationally

High school students in Ohio, including home schooled, are afforded the opportunity to gain financial awards to assist the students in their pursuit of higher education through participation in The American Legion High School Oratorical Scholarship program, a public speaking contest on the United States Constitution which focuses on the duties and obligations of a citizen to our government.

Department Oratorical Chairman:

John Looker
513-290-4511
jclooker1@gmail.com

 

Oratorical Home Page

Dayton National Cemetery Graves Decorating Program

43rd Year of Operation

On the Saturday prior to memorial Day, the Department of Ohio conducts this program which involves Dayton and the surrounding area Venture Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownie Units, The American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion, and Legionnaires.

Scout representatives place American Legion flags at the headstones of over 40,000 graves.

The American Legion sponsors the “Avenue of Flags”: 425 flag poles bearing the casket flags of deceased veterans, which are flown on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.

Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery Graves Decorating Program

17th Year of Operation

On the Saturday prior to memorial Day, the Department of Ohio conducts this program which involves Rittman, Medina, and the surrounding area Venture Scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownie Units, The American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion, and Legionnaires.

Scouting Programs

Active Supporter of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Explorers

There are 135 American Legion Chartered Scouting Units in the Department of Ohio with over 2,600 participants.

The Department presents the “Department Eagle Scout of the Year” award annually. The Department winner advances into the National American Legion competition and receives a $500.00 financial award from the estate of Mikeal and Frances Golato.

» Eagle Scout of the Year Nomination Form

Educator of the Year

The Department of Ohio recognizes outstanding Ohio educators at the State Convention annually for contributions made to the field of education, Ohio students, and the Department of Ohio American Legion. The “Educator of the Year” is selected from 14 district educator nominees.

» Educator of the Year Nomination Form

Dr. Tisha Grote is presented the Department of Ohio Educator of the Year Award by Department Commander Roger Friend and Department 2nd Vice Commander Brad Teis.

 

Ohio Educator of the Year teaches Americanism, military history in the classroom

Legionnaire Jerry Nelson was in awe of the beautiful bouquet of flowers he recently received at home. The sender was expressing appreciation to Nelson and American Legion Post 681 in Lakota, Ohio, for the Department of Ohio Educator of the Year for 2020 nomination – an award Dr. Tisha Grote accepted March 13 during the department’s leadership conference in Columbus.

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“The last year, 2020, in a global pandemic has been extremely challenging on all fronts,” said Grote, an AP U.S. government and politics teacher at Lakota East High School. “This nomination and award have meant a lot to me in a year that has tested my resolve. I am forever grateful to Mr. Jerry Nelson and Post 681.”

The relationship between Grote and Nelson transpired in 2007 when American Legion Post 681 was revitalized. The post wanted to be involved with the community, “We wanted to work with the Lakota School Systems to promote ourselves in the community and get everyone to know us that we’re out there,” said Nelson, the Americanism chairman at Post 681. So, he contacted Lakota East High School and found out who the AP government teacher was.

That was 14 years ago. Since then, Grote and Nelson “have formed a very good relationship. She has been indispensable for our post to accomplish the goals set forth in the Americanism pillar. So, I really wanted to honor her for the accomplishments she’s had with The American Legion and her students.”

Nelson visits Grote’s classroom four to five times throughout a school year. He has the entire class period to talk about and promote Department of Ohio programs that Post 681 supports – the Americanism and Government Test Program, Buckeye Boys State, Auxiliary Girls State, and the Oratorical Contest. He also brings another member from the post with him to speak about their military service such as Air Force nurse and Ohio Rep. Jennifer Gross.

“That’s quite a sacrifice for a teacher to give up that much time; however, it’s been very effective,” Nelson said.

The effectiveness of Nelson’s visits to Grote’s classroom have resulted in:

– Over 60 young men sponsored by Post 681 to attend Ohio American Legion Buckeye Boys State – three have gone on to attend American Legion Boys Nation in Washington, D.C.

– Over 45 young women sponsored by Post 681 to attend Ohio Auxiliary Girls State.

– Six students being accepted into a military service academy following high school graduation.

– Six students being winners of the Department of Ohio’s Americanism and Government Test Program for the past six years. About 60,000 students in grades 10-12 statewide take the Americanism and Government Test Program every year; the 18 winners chosen each year receive a five-day, all expenses paid trip to Gettysburg, Pa., and Washington, D.C., with American Legion Department of Ohio leadership and Auxiliary leadership.

“I think this is remarkable. Absolutely remarkable,” Nelson said. “This is a testament to how well she teaches. She goes out of her way to teach these kids Americanism and government.”

Nelson believes Grote’s “drive for Americanism comes from her father,” a point man in the Vietnam War.

“Growing up, I do not remember my father ever speaking much of his time in this war,” Grote said. “It was not until I became a government teacher in the 2001-2002 school year that I invited my dad to come into my classroom and speak on Veterans Day. The stories he told were the first time I was hearing them. He brought in photos and a few other items he was allowed to keep from his time serving. I had never seen them before. He continued to come into my classroom on Veterans Day until 2012. At that time, we recognized that he was showing signs of dementia.

“It is important to me and my students that veterans have their stories heard. They have much to teach students of U.S. history, world history and U.S. government. I have enjoyed creating a space in my classroom for those stories to be heard.”

Students get to spend time with Post 681 members outside of the classroom as well. The post has a dinner celebration to honor the students they sponsored to Boys and Girls State, who participated in the oratorical contest, and who won the Americanism and Government Test. Grote and the parents of the students also attend.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for my students and their family members to meet all the members of the post,” Grote said.

It is only during this celebration dinner that Nelson brings a special family memento – his father’s World War II pocket Bible. During his fight in the Battle of the Bulge, Nelson’s father was hit with shrapnel that struck his Bible but stopped before piercing through it. That Bible was in his field jacket pocket – “that’s over his heart,” said Nelson, who joined The American Legion in effort to support his son’s military service in the Afghanistan war. “That’s the Bible we place on the POW/MIA table.

Grote is the first teacher that Post 681 nominated for Educator of the Year.

“Dr. Grote has certainly aided our post, her students, the Lakota School System, the community and nation,” Nelsons said. “She’s helped us promote ourselves in the community, and the community knows The American Legion post to a good degree through her efforts. We hold her in high regards.”

American Legion Baseball

91st Season of Competition

46 Senior teams and 13 Junior teams entered into the Department season for a total of nearly 1,100 young men playing American Legion Baseball.

The Department of Ohio has had seven (7) American Legion Baseball World Series champions. The last National Champion from Ohio was: George W. Budde Post 507,Cincinnati, Ohio-1988.

For full information on Ohio American Legion Baseball please go to: https://www.ohiolegion.com/programs/baseball/

Department Baseball chairman: 

Marvin Shamhart

Citizens Flag Alliance

The Department Americanism Office serves as the administrative liaison to The American Legion National Headquarters Citizens Flag Alliance whose efforts are to secure a proposed constitutional amendment to protect the United States Flag from physical desecration.

The Americanism Office provides support services to Department Citizens Alliance Chairman with mailings, xerox services, and other administrative services.

United States Flag Education/Etiquette

Since 1919, The American Legion as a national organization and the Ohio Department of The American Legion have been strong proponents for educating the general public, especially the students in the nation’s schools, on the proper care, display, protection, and disposal of the United States Flag.

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The American Legion Department of Ohio and the Posts of Ohio provide schools, institutions, civic, and youth groups with information and flags for ceremonial, educational, and display purposes.

The Posts of Ohio conduct many presentations throughout the state on the proper folding, care, and display of the United States Flag.

The Posts of Ohio also conduct proper flag retirement ceremonies for United States flags that are no longer flyable and conduct graveside flag ceremonies for the funerals of deceased veterans.

A number of assets regarding United States flag education and United States flag etiquette are available upon request by contacting the Americanism Director.

Ohio State Highway Patrol Junior Cadet Week

46th Year of Operation

A joint program of the Department of Ohio American Legion, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary, and The American Legion Auxiliary conducted at the Ohio State Highway Patrol Training Academy in Columbus, Ohio.

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20 young men are selected at Buckeye Boys State, 20 young women at Buckeye Girls State, and 10 sons and daughters of Highway Patrol officers attend a mini-course in Law-Enforcement, taught by Patrol officers, which culminates in a Graduation Ceremony attended by Patrol, Legion, and Auxiliary officials.

Miscellaneous Programs

The Department of Ohio Americanism Office promotes the Department “Red, White, and Blue Award” program to recognize people and organizations in local communities for flying the flag and positive contributions to their community.

The Department of Ohio Americanism Office promotes the Schools Awards program to recognize the achievements of elementary, middle, junior high, and high school students.