Past Is Prologue

Essay Contest Designed for Students

The Past is Prologue Essay Contest invites students ages 11-12, 13-15 and 16-18 to compete within their age group to write an essay about a specific battle closely identified with an American overseas cemetery or monument managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Application Form download contest details I’m interested!

Participants

Each student must have an adult editor. This person may be a parent, teacher, young adult sibling or other adult. The role of the adult is to help steer research activities, support the development of the essay theme, check grammar, spelling, and punctuation and to facilitate a conversation to answer two questions that must be addressed in the essay:

  • What lessons from this specific past battle are instructive for us today?  

  • How would your life be different if Americans had not fought and died, i.e., what is the relevance of those who fought and died to your life and future?

The adult editor must certify that the essay was written by the student.

Participants

Each student must have an adult editor. This person may be a parent, teacher, young adult sibling or other adult. The role of the adult is to help steer research activities, support the development of the essay theme, check grammar, spelling, and punctuation and to facilitate a conversation to answer two questions that must be addressed in the essay:

  • What lessons from this specific past battle are instructive for us today?  

  • How would your life be different if Americans had not fought and died, i.e., what is the relevance of those who fought and died to your life and future?

The adult editor must certify that the essay was written by the student.

Participants

Each student must have an adult editor. This person may be a parent, teacher, young adult sibling or other adult. The role of the adult is to help steer research activities, support the development of the essay theme, check grammar, spelling, and punctuation and to facilitate a conversation to answer two questions that must be addressed in the essay:

  • What lessons from this specific past battle are instructive for us today?  

  • How would your life be different if Americans had not fought and died, i.e., what is the relevance of those who fought and died to your life and future?

The adult editor must certify that the essay was written by the student.

For the contests in 2022, students may choose to write about one of these three topics:

Application Form download contest details I’m interested!

1

Lafayette Escadrille

In 1916, before the United States joined its European allies in WWI, a group of American volunteer aviators flew with the French Air Service known as the Lafayette Escadrille. The squadron’s mascots were lion cubs named Whiskey and Soda. Its insignia was a profile of the Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull. The aviators’ innovations in flying techniques forever changed air warfare strategy.

2

Operation Dragoon

In August, 1944, this four-week operation was initiated via parachute drop by U.S. and British troops under the shield of a large naval task force. With assistance from the French Army and the French Resistance, the mission to liberate the south of France and the port cities of Marseille and Toulon was successful. The Germany Army was driven north into the Vosges mountains on the German border, committing numerous war crimes against civilians as they withdrew.

3

Battle of Guadalcanal

Codenamed Operation Watchtower, the six-month battle in 1942 and 1943 between Allied and Imperial Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, was fought on land, air, and sea and was one of the most strategically significant campaigns of the Pacific theater and a turning point in the war. The Japanese effort to control the South Pacific was stopped due to an irreplaceable loss of aircraft, ships, and its highly-trained and veteran crews. By crippling the so-called Japanese “Tokyo Express,” allied shipping lanes from the U.S. to Australia were protected.

For the contests in 2022, students may choose to write about one of these three topics:

Application Form I’m interested! download contest details

1

Lafayette Escadrille

In 1916, before the United States joined its European allies in WWI, a group of American volunteer aviators flew with the French Air Service known as the Lafayette Escadrille. The squadron’s mascots were lion cubs named Whiskey and Soda. Its insignia was a profile of the Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull. The aviators’ innovations in flying techniques forever changed air warfare strategy.

2

Operation Dragoon

In August, 1944, this four-week operation was initiated via parachute drop by U.S. and British troops under the shield of a large naval task force. With assistance from the French Army and the French Resistance, the mission to liberate the south of France and the port cities of Marseille and Toulon was successful. The Germany Army was driven north into the Vosges mountains on the German border, committing numerous war crimes against civilians as they withdrew.

3

Battle of Guadalcanal

Codenamed Operation Watchtower, the six-month battle in 1942 and 1943 between Allied and Imperial Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, was fought on land, air, and sea and was one of the most strategically significant campaigns of the Pacific theater and a turning point in the war. The Japanese effort to control the South Pacific was stopped due to an irreplaceable loss of aircraft, ships, and its highly-trained and veteran crews. By crippling the so-called Japanese “Tokyo Express,” allied shipping lanes from the U.S. to Australia were protected.

For the contests in 2022, students may choose to write about one of these three topics:

Application Form download contest details I’m interested!

1

Lafayette Escadrille

In 1916, before the United States joined its European allies in WWI, a group of American volunteer aviators flew with the French Air Service known as the Lafayette Escadrille. The squadron’s mascots were lion cubs named Whiskey and Soda. Its insignia was a profile of the Hunkpapa Lakota Chief Sitting Bull. The aviators’ innovations in flying techniques forever changed air warfare strategy.

2

Operation Dragoon

In August, 1944, this four-week operation was initiated via parachute drop by U.S. and British troops under the shield of a large naval task force. With assistance from the French Army and the French Resistance, the mission to liberate the south of France and the port cities of Marseille and Toulon was successful. The Germany Army was driven north into the Vosges mountains on the German border, committing numerous war crimes against civilians as they withdrew.

3

Battle of Guadalcanal

Codenamed Operation Watchtower, the six-month battle in 1942 and 1943 between Allied and Imperial Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, was fought on land, air, and sea and was one of the most strategically significant campaigns of the Pacific theater and a turning point in the war. The Japanese effort to control the South Pacific was stopped due to an irreplaceable loss of aircraft, ships, and its highly-trained and veteran crews. By crippling the so-called Japanese “Tokyo Express,” allied shipping lanes from the U.S. to Australia were protected.

Composition Details

Each essay must be written in English. If English is not the first language of the student, that should be noted on the application form.  Applications and Essays must be submitted online at [email protected]

Essays must be:

  • Typed, Double Spaced, 1 inch margins
  • Font, Size: Times New Roman, 12 pt.
  • Save and send as a PDF
  • Include your name and state on the first page only of your essay

Minimum & maximum word-count

  • Students ages 11-12:    800 – 1,000 words
  • Students ages 13-15: 1,200 – 1,500 words
  • Students ages 16-18: 1,500 – 1,800 words

References are not included in word count.

Quoted material should be used sparingly and must include a citation of author, publication and date.

Composition Details

Each essay must be written in English. If English is not the first language of the student, that should be noted on the application form.  Applications and Essays must be submitted online at [email protected]

Essays must be:

  • Typed, Double Spaced, 1inch margins
  • Font, Size: Times New Roman, 12 pt.
  • Save and send as a PDF
  • Include your name and state on the first page only of your essay

Minimum & maximum word-count

  • Students ages 11-12:    800 – 1,000 words
  • Students ages 13-15: 1,200 – 1,500 words
  • Students ages 16-18: 1,500 – 1,800 words

References are not included in word count.

Quoted material should be used sparingly and must include a citation of author, publication and date.

Composition Details

Each essay must be written in English. If English is not the first language of the student, that should be noted on the application form.  Applications and Essays must be submitted online at [email protected]

Essays must be:

  • Typed, Double Spaced, 1inch margins
  • Font, Size: Times New Roman, 12 pt.
  • Save and send as a PDF
  • Include your name and state on the first page only of your essay

Minimum & maximum word-count

  • Students ages 11-12:    800 – 1,000 words
  • Students ages 13-15: 1,200 – 1,500 words
  • Students ages 16-18: 1,500 – 1,800 words

References are not included in word count.

Quoted material should be used sparingly and must include a citation of author, publication and date.

Research Materials

An additional resource is the American Battle Monuments Commission www.abmc.gov.  

Wikipedia may be a starting point for general information about the topics, but it is not to be considered authoritative and should not be included in your reference list.

Research Materials

An additional resource is the American Battle Monuments Commission www.abmc.gov.  

Wikipedia may be a starting point for general information about the topics, but it is not to be considered authoritative and should not be included in your reference list.

Research Materials

An additional resource is the American Battle Monuments Commission www.abmc.gov.  

Wikipedia may be a starting point for general information about the topics, but it is not to be considered authoritative and should not be included in your reference list.

Judges

Qualified judges will review the essays and recommend three finalists in each age group. These essays will be reviewed by a committee appointed by the ABMF Board of Directors, who will select the First, Second and Third place winners in each age group. The decision of the Essay Review Committee is final.

Judging Criteria

  • Accuracy of historical events.  Document your source material at the end of the essay.  References are not included in the minimum and maximum word count for the essay.
  • Composition and writing style.  Correct grammar, spelling and punctuation are a given.
  • Creativity.  Consider writing the essay for an audience of your peers.  Perhaps the essay is a make-believe conversation with an “eye witness” to the events: a soldier, a citizen who lived in the area, or a journalist embedded with the military.  Perhaps the essay is a straight news report written for a local or national newspaper.  Use your imagination, as long as the facts of the battle are presented accurately.
  • There are no right or wrong responses for the two mandatory questions, but they must be answered from the perspective of the student.

2022 Essay Contest Deadline

AUTUMN CONTEST

Your essay must be submitted by midnight (MDT) November 1, 2022.

Winners announced by December 31, 2022.

Prizes

Prizes will be awarded for First, Second, and Third place in each age group. First Prize: $5,000; Second Prize is $2,500; Third Prize is $1,500

Winning essays will be identified prior to Veterans Day. Winners will be notified via a telephone call to the adult editor with an email and hard copy letter sent via USPS.

All winning essays become the property of the American Battle Monuments Foundation and may, at the discretion of the Foundation, be published on the ABMF website and promoted through its social media channels. Use of the winners’ name is restricted to a first name, last initial and name of city and state. Any additional use of a middle-school or high-school winner’s name or image is done so only with the written permission of a parent or guardian.

Please submit your intention to participate at [email protected].

Prizes

Prizes will be awarded for First, Second, and Third place in each age group. First Prize: $5,000; Second Prize is $2,500; Third Prize is $1,500

Winning essays will be identified prior to Veterans Day. Winners will be notified via a telephone call to the adult editor with an email and hard copy letter sent via USPS.

All winning essays become the property of the American Battle Monuments Foundation and may, at the discretion of the Foundation, be published on the ABMF website and promoted through its social media channels. Use of the winners’ name is restricted to a first name, last initial and name of city and state. To help us with scheduling our volunteer judges, please send us an email as soon as possible indicating your intention to participate at [email protected]

Please submit your intention to participate at [email protected].

Download the Essay Contest Application

Prizes

Prizes will be awarded for First, Second, and Third place in each age group. First Prize: $5,000; Second Prize is $2,500; Third Prize is $1,500

Winning essays will be identified prior to Veterans Day. Winners will be notified via a telephone call to the adult editor with an email and hard copy letter sent via USPS.

All winning essays become the property of the American Battle Monuments Foundation and may, at the discretion of the Foundation, be published on the ABMF website and promoted through its social media channels. Use of the winners’ name is restricted to a first name, last initial and name of city and state. To help us with scheduling our volunteer judges, please send us an email as soon as possible indicating your intention to participate at [email protected]

Please submit your intention to participate at [email protected].

Sponsors

The American Battle Monuments Foundation Past is Prologue Essay Contest is made possible in part through the generous sponsorship of Troutman Pepper. Troutman.com

Sponsors

The American Battle Monuments Foundation Past is Prologue Essay Contest is made possible in part through the generous sponsorship of Troutman Pepper. Troutman.com

Sponsors

The American Battle Monuments Foundation Past is Prologue Essay Contest is made possible in part through the generous sponsorship of Troutman Pepper. Troutman.com