Last summer, American Legion Emblem Sales created an opportunity for posts to earn money for their programs and activities through the purchase of U.S. flags. Posts participating in the Flag Rewards program receive a 10-cent credit for each dollar spent on the purchase of American flags by the post or community members. The credit is good toward the future purchase of any Emblem Sales catalog item.
The goal of the program is to make the Legion the primary source for communities to purchase their American flags, as well as to increase visibility of Legion members in their local neighborhoods and communities, increase contact with local businesses and civic leaders, and increase membership recruiting opportunities through contact with patriotic neighbors.
Posts are encouraged to spread the message that an American flag purchased from the Legion will give a direct financial benefit to the local post and help veterans serve their communities.
So far, 326 posts have earned more than $14,000 in Emblem Sales credit for 2012. Post 20 in Fort Gibson, Okla., has the highest total earned so far at $487, while Post 533 in Corinth, N.Y., is a close second at $424.
Post 20 Commander Tim Smith said the brunt of the flags purchased by his post have gone to line the post’s Trail of Honor leading into Fort Gibson National Cemetery. On federal holidays, and during burials for active-duty servicemembers killed in action, the trail is lined with U.S. flags.
“Five-hundred American flags line the roadway for almost two miles from the highway to the entrance of the Fort Gibson National Cemetery,” Smith said. “We raised almost $15,000 for the tribute, and we need to add about 150 more flags next year.”
Smith said the post has worked an arrangement with Fort Gibson to buy flags through the Legion; some businesses and the school district are considering a similar plan.
Post 20 also encourages members of the community to display the flag, and conducts a drawing at high-school sporting events in which the prize is a home flag set.
Post 6 in Cheyenne, Wyo., has made several purchases through the Legion’s Flag Rewards program and has earned $240 so far. Many of those flags go to honor veterans in the community who have passed away.
“We purchase the small gravesite flags for placement on our veterans’ graves on Memorial Day and Veterans Day,” Post 6 Adjutant Herbert Walker said. “There are upwards of 3,000 gravesites in our cemetery.” Walker said additional flag purchases are shared within the community.
“The small celebration flags we make available to our elementary schools for their programs,” he said. “We also include the coloring books and any other appropriate material we have. The larger flags we sell as a fundraiser for our programs. This has proven to be quite successful.”
Walker said that U.S. flags play a prominent role in Cheyenne. “We have Warren (Air Force Base) here, as well as the headquarters of the Wyoming National Guard,” he said. “There is quite an awareness of proper flag etiquette, so we are replacing many flags a year.”
Qualifying purchases in the program include those made by the post as well as by the post’s members, friends, neighbors, local schools and businesses that choose to sponsor the post by buying their flags from the Legion.
To participate, post adjutants can register their posts online. Post sponsorship forms are also available online.