Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,
In this era of uncertainty, one thing remains absolute: No community service organization responds more effectively in times of despair than The American Legion.
The coronavirus has placed barricades around nearly every facet of our way of life in America. It has halted social gatherings, closed our schools and many businesses, and threatened our nation’s blood supply.
But American Legion Family members have admirably served our communities, states and nation through this turbulent time. And perhaps there was no greater evidence of this than on our most hallowed holiday, Memorial Day.
Post members were active in their communities by making sure that flags adorned the graves of veterans. In Bozeman, Mont., American Legion Post 14 placed more than 2,500 flags on gravesites. “It’s a pretty special time to gather with others in this community and it gives us all, especially those of us who’ve served, a moment to thank the community for the way they support us year after year when we do the events this week," Post 14 Legionnaire Rick Gale said.
Legion Family members and community friends from around the nation joined me in honoring the fallen at dusk in the first Candles of Honor. I look forward to growing this into an annual tradition.
And American Legion posts continued to help families get food safely.
Flag Day, too, will be a different celebration this year. Gone will be face-to-face lessons in flag etiquette that Legionnaires regularly provide to Sons of The American Legion members, Boy Scouts and other youth groups. And Flag Day ceremonies will be different, perhaps virtual or scaled back to adhere to social distancing norms.
But these obstacles won’t deter The American Legion from continuing to serve our communities. We adapt. We overcome.
There are many other ways that Legionnaires can have a meaningful impact on their communities while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Among them:
• Keep checking on veterans in your communities to see if they need any assistance. If you have not already, please reference the new Buddy Check kit, which has been enhanced to better serve senior members of our veteran community, who are at the highest risk of COVID-19.
• Work with your local American Red Cross chapter on sponsoring a blood drive to help fill the critical need.
Stay safe, my friends and comrades.