The American Legion has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 National Oratorical Contest, after also having to do so in 2020 with the onset of COVID-19. This cancellation was made after careful consideration between the National Americanism Commission and American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford. As new variant strains of COVID-19 hold uncertainty for the possibility of reinfection, and the coronavirus vaccination is not yet available to everyone, the health and safety of all those involved with the program is of great concern to the organization.
The American Legion national organization does not have the authority to mandate that departments complete their respective 2021 oratorical contest if they still have yet to do so. This is the decision of the department. However, for this program year, youth who are certified by their respective department as the department oratorical champion will be awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship sponsored by the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation and The American Legion.
In accordance with National Oratorical Contest Rules, departments must certify their oratorical winner to National Headquarters by Monday, March 15, 2021, in order for their champion to be awarded the $5,000 scholarship. Because a National Oratorical Contest will not be held, this scholarship is available to department oratorical champions regardless of whether a department conducts its oratorical contest in a live or virtual format.
"Thank you so very much for the hard work that your department puts into the oratorical program each year and for your understanding, flexibility and resilience," wrote Americanism Commission Chairman Richard Anderson in a letter sent to departments. "Those qualities, along with the proven toughness and strength of the American Legion Family, will get us through."
For questions, please contact Program Manager Bill Megnin or Program Administrative Coordinator Kim Shriver at (317) 630-1203, or by email at email@example.com.