VVMF’s 2016 Student Video Contest Asks: “How did the Vietnam War change our country?”


Memorial Day 2015 (Dave Scavone)

With Memorial Day approaching, VVMF is giving students in grades 4 through 12 the chance to participate in the third annual Student Video Contest.

The non-profit organization that founded the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is asking students to take five minutes to creatively answer the question:

How did the Vietnam War change our country?

As you can imagine, participants can take this a million different directions. How have Americans changed the way they treat their nation’s military men and women? Why is it now important to separate the war from the warrior? Has America become more careful with their decision to enter war following 1975? How has media coverage of war changed?


Protests against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. on April 24, 1971.

VVMF encourages students to take a hard look at history, speak to a veteran, or ask someone who lived through the era. Find out what brought so many Americans to fight for social and political changes following Vietnam. This contest will allow students to see how one of the most divisive eras in US history led America to adapt, and reconcile differences to become a stronger nation.

One winner will receive a three-day trip to Washington, D.C., with a guardian, to participate in VVMF’s annual Memorial Day ceremony!


Below are the guidelines for this year’s contest.

Good luck!

Veterans at Wall -credit  VFW

Veterans join hands before the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 1982. (VFW)

Memorial Day Video Contest 2016

How did the Vietnam War change our country?

The United States changed in many ways as a result of the upheaval of the Vietnam War; ask those who lived through this period and they will share stories of a time when many fought for the changes they wished to see in America.

Eligibility: Submissions will be accepted by any students in grades 4 through 12 in the United States, United States territories, or military bases abroad.

Guidelines: A short video (5 minutes or less) describing what important social, political, or other changes you think were brought about through the United States’ participation in the Vietnam War.

Prize: The Grand Prize winner and one guardian will receive a 3-day trip to Washington DC (hotel and flight expenses covered*) to participate in the Memorial Day 2016 ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial, which is attended by thousands of people, as well as local and national media. Two runners up will receive a set of books on the Vietnam Memorial and Vietnam War signed by VVMF founder Jan Scruggs.  All three finalists will have their videos featured on the VVMF website & social media during the month of Memorial Day, with exposure to over 300,000 followers.


Sean Quinn, winner of the 2015 VVMF Student Video Contest (Bill Petros).

Past Years: The winner of the 2015 VVMF Memorial Day Student Video Contest was Sean Quinn, an 11th grader from Albany, New York. Sean’s video can be seen on VVMF’s YouTube channel.

Deadline: Submit your video by April 22, 2016, 5 pm EST.

How to Submit: Email raw (mp4) video files to education@vvmf.org. Include in your email: Your full name, your grade level, your school, your home address, and your email address.

Judging: Videos will go through two rounds of judging. Videos will first be judged by a panel of Vietnam/history experts, including:

  • Mark Lawrence, Associate Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin
  • Lindy Poling, award-winning 35-year high school history teacher
  • Ron Milam, Associate Professor of Military History, Texas Tech University
  • John Prados, Senior Fellow, National Security Archive, George Washington University
  • Heather Paisley Jones, Education Specialist, National Museum of American History
  • Sean Quinn, winner of the 2015 VVMF Memorial Day Student Video Contest

The top 3 videos as selected by the panel of judges will then be put to a crowdsourced, public vote via VVMF’s social media. Finalists will be notified when the second round of judging will take place.

Criteria: Submissions will be judged on several factors:  quality of speech/writing; complexity of topics discussed; web presence; creativity.

*If the final winner resides within a 100 mile radius of Washington, DC, he or she will have nearby hotel expenses covered, and will participate in the Memorial Day ceremony.