It was the late 1960's and the VFW Voice of Democracy competition that year asked students to talk about : Freedom's Challenge. Then a high school sophomore, Barbara Houndt responded with what was to become her winning essay. Barbara (Houndt-Beach),now the Executive Producer for the Military Appreciation Channel and Volunteer with The Patriot's Voice Foundation recently found a tape recording of her (much) younger self reading her essay. "Listening to my thoughts about defending our military and also my realization even then that 'freedom came easy to me...I was born' makes me realize where the core of my patriotism began....I have my parents to thank for that!"If you click the above 'MP-3' (created from a reel to reel tape found in an attic) you can hear in(then) a barely teenage voice the Freedom's Challenge Speech...made even more significant as we all celebrate our Nation's Birthday
Each year, high school students from across the country enter to win a share of the $2.2 million in educational scholarships and incentives awarded through the VFW’s Voice of Democracy audio-essay competition.
The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school. Other national scholarships range from $1,000-$16,000, and the first-place winner from each (state) VFW Department wins a minimum scholarship of $1,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C.The 2014-15 theme was "Why Veterans are Important to our Nation's History and Future." YOU TOO CAN WIN $30,000!WHO CAN ENTERThe Voice of Democracy Program is open to students in grades 9-12 (on the Nov. 1 deadline), who are enrolled in a public, private or parochial high school or home study program in the United States and its territories. The 2015-16 theme is: My Vision for AmericaEntries begin at the Post level. Once the student creates their essay and completes burning the audio version to an audio CD/flash drive, they can submit their typed version, CD/flash drive and the Voice of Democracy entry form to their local participating VFW Post by the November 1 deadline.
HOW TO ENTERClick the VFW logo to access the Voice of Democracy 2015-16 entry form and brochure.