Wednesday, September 16, 2020
Oratorical Champ Shares Thoughts
In a written message to Legionnaires, New York’s oratorical champion, Victor Gelfuso, says The American Legion’s speech contest fostered in him a greater appreciation for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
“Exercising my rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press,” he writes, “has shown me how much the United States values one of the paramount rights in human life: the freedom of thought and the pursuit of truth.”
He speaks of meeting “so many amazing veterans and their families” – an experience that taught him “the character of the American soldier.” A service-man or -woman “is a citizen who lives a life of service, sacrifice, and conviction in the American cause.”
Gelfuso goes on to praise The American Legion’s Americanism programs and their impact on America’s youth. “Programs like the Oratorical Contest, Boys’ State, and Girls’ State are crucial in our time when more and more of our young people do not know the words of our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, nor the advice and admonitions of our Founding Fathers, nor the duties of American citizenship. Even the philosophical and theological foundations that America’s history was built upon appear to be fading from the minds of our youngest generations of Americans.”
He concludes that the Americanism programs “plant the seeds of patriotism in the hearts of our next generations.”