The United States World War I Centennial Commission issued the following request:
Countdown to Veterans Day
We Need Your Help!
We need YOUR HELP! Every year, the US WWI Centennial Commission runs its Countdown To Veterans Day Campaign in the lead up to Veterans Day.
In order to help strengthen this campaign and to get the word about the centennial out to a wider world, the Commission is asking all of our friends to write and submit a Letter to the Editor to their local newspaper about Veterans Day and its significance to WWI and the centennial (Veterans Day was ARMISTICE DAY!).
Below is a special letter from Roger Fisk, our Chief Development Officer, explaining HOW YOU CAN HELP.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to write a Letter to the Editor! And let us know if your letter gets published – we’d love to brag about you!
“Countdown to Veterans Day”
For Social Media, Newspapers and Community Outreach
We are using the weeks leading up to Veterans Day to increase public awareness of the National World War One Memorial we will be building in Washington DC. We call is Countdown to Veterans Day.
Our largest organizational challenge is increasing public awareness of the impact WW1 has on our daily lives, why the war was so pivotal, and that the United States is on the cusp of the 100th anniversary of almost five million young Americans serving in WW1. Each state based organization, and each volunteer within, can play a critical role in addressing this public awareness challenge.
YOU can help us engage the American people in the three weeks, and here’s how;
- Letters to the Editor.
Every local newspaper accepts Letters to the Editor , and this is a wonderful way to reach tens of thousands of your neighbors with WW1 messaging. There are two ways this can happen. First, a handwritten letter or typed can be mailed to your local newspaper’s mailing address. The letter should be no more than 2-3 paragraphs, maybe 300 words, and in it you can be very direct about what you are writing, such as; “It is important that your readers appreciate the sacrifice of so many Americans in WW1,” etc. Speak about why this matters to you in a personal context, since perhaps a relative served or some part of the war and resulting social change has had an impact on your family or community. The second way to submit a letter is through the paper’s web page, and normally this can be found in the “Contact Us” section, or just search the page for Letters to the Editor. The same format as handwritten applies; 2-3 paragraphs, somewhere around 300 words, etc. One thing that is critical is to include our web site in any letter, be it handwritten or submitted on their page, so together we not only raise awareness but engage people with ways they can help. WW1CC.ORG is the address every letter should contain.
We’ve compiled a PDF with 114 Large Newspapers across the country and their e-mail address for submissions – you can access it HERE. To be published before Veterans Day you should submit your material by the end of October.
Please help us get the WW1 word out!
- Open Comment period in groups you belong to.
Many civic groups, neighborhood groups, Rotaries, etc often conclude their monthly meetings with open comment periods. This is a perfect opportunity to raise your hand and share some of the same sentiments discussed in the letter to the editor section above. World War One matters. We live in a world shaped by the Great War. We need people’s help to honor properly the almost five million who served. Maybe print up some information with our web site on it and have it ready to hand out. YOU can be a major asset in our effort to increase public awareness!
- Activate your own networks
Friends, colleagues, church attendees, neighbors; when you are having casual chats about Veterans Day weekend plans, that is a perfect time to talk about the meaning of Veterans Day and how we have a generation of forgotten vets who were signing up 100 years ago right now. Take a minute in October and early November and have that conversation, remind people that Veterans Day is more than a three day weekend, it is a tribute to men and women throughout our history who were willing to put their lives on the line for this country.
- Activate #countdowntoveteransday on your e-mail lists and social media and send people to countdowntoveteransday.org for volunteer opportunities.
Take a moment one morning in the next week and sit down and write out why World War One matters to you. Why did you decide to volunteer? Why is this a passion for you? Then take that and share it with friends, family, and neighbors through your e-mail or social media, and by tagging #countdowntoveteransday your comments will be joining conversations going on all over the country about Veterans Day. Many of us talk about what we think is important, but it is actually kind of rare when people speak about WHY that subject is important to THEM. This is your chance, and as always, include WW1CC.ORG so we not only engage them, inform them, we also give them a way to get involved just like you did.
- Tell us how it is going!!!!
As always, share the results with us! Let us know how those conversations went, share a link to your op-ed in the local paper, tell us about the community meeting where you spoke to your neighbors about commemorating WW1.
Thank you and please let us know how we can help!
Chief Development Officer