Promoting pride in country, respect for the flag and appreciation of our freedoms are the primary purposes of Exchange's Americanism programs. The tumultuous struggles of world powers in the twentieth century have done little to guarantee a peaceful future for the majority of the world’s people. However, there’s one country in modern times that people flock to for safety, freedom and opportunity — the United States of America. It is hard for Americans to imagine the horrors of modern struggles over religious and ethnic differences, the very differences we embrace.
Exchange’s Americanism programs were born in the aftermath of World War II. At that time, patriotism was unquenchable, and Exchangites joined veterans and other civic groups in heralding the rich blessings of democracy.
Just as its tongue-twisting title suggests, this popular projects involves the distribution of small American flags to youngsters at parades, fairs, picnics, school events or other community happenings that generate large crowds. The flags are absolutely free to the children and can make a great souvenir of the occasion.
Developed by the Exchange Club of Galesburg, Ill., the program can be implemented on any occasion which calls for a parade i.e., Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day or Veteran's Day. The sponsoring club, after first securing permission from the local authorities, distributes small 4" x 6" United States flags to children along the parade route.
This is an easily implemented and effective program designed to cultivate a deeper sense of patriotism and to heighten young American’s appreciation and admiration for our country’s flag. Flags with Exchange identification are available from the Supply Department in gross lots. Capitalize on this opportunity to educate adults as well. As you hand a flag to a child, greet adults and hand them literature.
The Freedom Shrine is an impressive, permanently mounted collection of 30 of the most important and historic American documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution of the United States and the Gettysburg Address. They show our nation's youth the strength and courage of their forefathers by allowing them to read, with their own eyes, the immortal words of inspired Americans who so decisively changed the course of history.
Exchange would like to see a Freedom Shrine installed in every junior and senior high school in the nation. Freedom Shrines have also found places of honor in universities, libraries, state capitols, airports, city halls and other public places where they can be studied and admired. To view a virtual Freedom Shrine, visit the Virtual Freedom Shrine website, hosted by the Exchange Club of Salem, N.H.
This powerful program not only aims to increase appreciation of our rich religious heritage, but also seeks to remind Americans that we must always trust in a higher power for guidance, protection and strength. The famous words of the program's title are, of course, taken from the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. One Nation Under God Month is observed annually during November. Exchange Clubs can implement this program in a variety of worthwhile ways, such as organizing community-wide prayer breakfasts, distributing pamphlets describing the American Flag's history and proper flag etiquette, sponsoring One Nation Under God essay or poster contests in schools and encouraging attendance at religious services.
The One Nation Under God project was adopted on July 30, 1964 by Exchange leaders seeking to heighten awareness of our rich religious heritage. November, observed nationally as One Nation Under God Month, is a special time of year when Exchangites join together to increase public appreciation of the important roles religious faith and freedom have played in our nation’s history.
Volunteer efforts are important to our society and should not go unnoticed. The National Exchange Club’s longest running project, the Book of Golden Deeds Award, recognizes dedicated volunteers who give endless hours of their time and talents toward making their communities better places to live. Ever since the Exchange Club of Huntington, Ind., sponsored the first award in 1919, thousands of unsung heroes and heroines have been recognized. Honoring a fellow citizen with the Book of Golden Deeds Award is a heartwarming and inspiring act not only for the honoree, but for any Exchange Club. The Book of Golden Deeds Award exemplifies The National Exchange Club’s beliefs.