It was my pleasure this week to have three members of the American Legion Standish Maine Post as guests for my radio program, Community Focus. These members of the Legion served in three different branches of America's Armed Forces; Navy, Air Force and Army. Each expressed pride in their branch of the service, but joined in the common bond of "veteran of an armed conflict."
We discussed today's role for the Legion. Some posts have deactivated due to dwindling numbers. Some have had to give up post homes, but have managed to stay active in buildings shared by other civic entities. Currently, the post in Standish, which is Memorial Post 128, meets in a facility owned by the Standish Kiwanis. They are working to put enough money away to build their own Post home which they envision will be a community building with facilities for, not only their meetings, but the gatherings of other groups and civic events.
American Legion Memorial Post 128 has around 70 members. They meet once monthly for socialization and a brief formal meeting. Currently they are running a Bingo night at The Roost in Buxton. I am not a big Bingo fan, but my guests made it sound like a lot of fun and if it weren't at night I would be tempted to join them - at least once to test the waters.
Among civic activities the Post has been involved in: A formal and respectful flag disposal ceremony; visiting veterans in nursing home facilities, particularly the Maine Veterans' Home in Scarborough, and those at Togus Veterans' Hospital, Veterans' Day activities and Memorial Day activities. They are looking forward to 2011 for many activities and events.
I was impressed. I don't know why exactly it made such an impression on me, but I sat with these three men and I want to describe what I observed. Three men who served in three different branches of the armed services in a period of armed conflict; Europe, Asia - on foot, aboard ship, in the air. Everyone shaved, groomed, articulate, good humored, no foul language, respectful of each other and of their radio and internet audiences around the world. I am struck that these three men represent the best of Maine, the USA and our armed forces. They are dedicated to continuing the service of the American Legion, to helping the young men and women who are returning as veterans from the current conflicts, supporting the families waiting for them, supporting those who have suffered the loss of a loved one. Honoring the flag, the laws of land, and working to leave behind a better community for the next generation.
I salute Will, Hal and Bruce today. And I thank them for giving me the opportunity to spend an hour with them; learn from them; and feel optimistic that an old tradition of the American Legion is continuing.
If you are interested in listening to this conversation with these three veterans, go to firstname.lastname@example.org and look for Community Focus on the schedule for the times it will air.