The VFW's Patriot's Pen is an essay contest for students in grades 6-8 that encourages young minds to examine America's history, along with their own experiences in modern American society, according to the national website. Students are asked to participate in the program by drafting a 300- to 400-word essay, expressing their views based on a patriotic theme chosen by the VFW Commander-in-Chief. 
Each first place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first place winner wins $5,000. Student entries must be submitted to a sponsoring post.