POST 131 COURIER
HONORING THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN SO MUCH Volume 1 Number 2 September 2011
Remembering September 11 "Lest We Never Forget"
About the Cover . . . The “Tribute in Light” memorial is in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001, in honor of the citizens who lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks. The two towers of light are composed of two banks of high wattage spotlights that point straight up from a lot next to Ground Zero. The “Tribute in Light” memorial was first held in March 2002. This photo was taken from Liberty State Park, New Jersey on September11, 2006, the five year anniversary of 9/11. USAF photo by Denise Gould. --http://http://www.smiteahippie.com/tag/911/
Post 131 Courier is a monthly publication edited and produced entirely by American Legion Shirley-Holloway Post 131 located in Columbiana, Alabama. For information on how to subscribe or how to advertise, please contact the Post: American Legion Shirley-Holloway Post 131 Post Office Box 357 Columbiana, Alabama 35051 http://post131.alaaldist23.org All articles must be submitted by the 15th of every month in order to be printed the the current newsletter
Submitted by Eldon Erickson
Everyone seems to ask that we talk up membership to every veteran we meet, and that is a good thing. That is what we should do, since membership is extremely important. Very few of our current legislators have ever served in the military and do not understand veteransâ€™ issues. However, they do understand that a large voting block of veterans can determine if they get reelected or not. But, many of the new veterans you talk to do not see anything new in The American Legion, but only see what they left behind, which, in most cases, happens to be a piece of themselves. So, explain the new things we are doing or the things we could be doing, if they participated. To name a few: baseball, oratorical, Boys State, junior shooting, Boy Scouts, flag retirement, and community participation in holidays. Encourage veterans to join so they can have the opportunity to get together with other veterans and share a part of their history about the places they were stationed, stories about their military units and the friends they served with. Share stories of the things they had seen, countries they have visited, the many diverse people they came in contact with, and what it was like for them serving their country. Maybe someday, we will get a writer to join our Post, if we donâ€™t already have one and they can write a book about the veterans of Shelby County. If we can put our stories on paper we could keep our memories alive long past our short lives. Veterans are important and our number one concern.
POST 131 COURIER
Where Have We Gone? By Eldon Erickson
Where have our military personnel been deployed to since August 2, 1990? In celebration of our men and women in uniform, we are proud to identify some areas in which they served. This list is not complete and only lists some of the larger operations. Afghanistan Enduring Freedom
October 2001 – present
Carribean Sea Haiti
July 1994 - March 1995
Former Yugoslavia and Kosovo Joint Guardian Allied Force Joint Endeavor/Guard/Forge
June 1999 – present March 1999 – June 1999 July 1995 – present
Gulf Region Iraqi Freedom Desert Fox Northern Watch Southern Watch Desert Storm Desert Shield
March 2003 – August 2010 December 1998 December 1996 – May 2003 1991 – March 2003 January 1991 – February 1991 August 1990 – January 1991
The Gulf War Era has not officially ended. If you served from August 2, 1990 through the present, you are a Gulf War Era Veteran. If you served in the Gulf during the conflict, you are a Gulf War Veteran.
American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program www.legion.org
The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program is a gun safety education and marksmanship program that encompasses the basic elements of safety, education, enjoyment and competition. Shooters use the .177 caliber air rifle. Both males and females can participate, through Legion sponsorship; disabled youth are encouraged to join, as competitive shooting is a sport that creates an equal playing field for all competitors. Junior Shooting Sports is a three-part program that combines the Basic Marksmanship Course, Qualification Awards and Air Rifle Competition into a well-rounded activity. Basic Marksmanship Course The Basic Marksmanship Course, given to Shooting Sports participants, offers comprehensive instruction for beginning shooters with little or no marksmanship experience. Designed for an instructorâ€™s easy use, the course teaches gun safety and marksmanship fundamentals, using short lectures or discussions, followed by hands-on activities. The package includes: Qualification Awards Graduates who want to keep improving their skills can enroll in air-rifle qualification courses provided by the National Rifle Association and the Civilian Marksmanship Programs. These courses offer personal skill-development ladders for shooters to achieve established performance standards. http://ala.pa-legion.com/students/student-programs/jr-shooting-sports/
Air Rifle Competition The annual 3-Position Junior Air Rifle National Championship is a tournament that begins with postal matches. State and/or regional champions are determined and advance to a qualification round (also a postal match) to determine the athletes who will earn expense-paid trips to compete in the national championship. The national championship is a shoulder-to-shoulder match held each August at the USA Shooting range facilities at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
POST 131 COURIER
A Senate Resolution Senate Resolution 260--Designating SEPTEMBER 16, As ``THE AMERICAN LEGION DAY'' -- (Senate - September 10, 2009)
Whereas, on September 16, 1919, Congress issued to the American Legion a Federal charter as a wartime veterans service organization; Whereas the American Legion remains active in communities at the national, State, and local levels; Whereas members of the American Legion (commonly referred to as ``Legionnaires'') provide millions of hours of volunteer service to medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs and State homes for veterans throughout the United States; Whereas the American Legion continues to sponsor activities for children and youth, including the National Oratorical Contest, Boy Scouts, American Legion Baseball, Boys State, and Boys Nation; Whereas the American Legion awards millions of dollars in college scholarships to young men and women; Whereas the American Legion National Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to Legionnaires displaced by natural disasters; Whereas the American Legion Family Support Network provides assistance to members of the Armed Forces of the United States and their families; Whereas the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided millions of dollars to programs focused on youth in the United States, including the Special Olympics and the Children's Miracle Network; Whereas the American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance provides grants to veterans with children experiencing financial hardships; Whereas the American Legion remains second to none in steadfast support of strong national defense; Whereas the American Legion supports maintaining a viable and principled foreign relations agenda; Whereas the American Legion is a staunch advocate for the principal missions of the Department of Veterans Affairs; Whereas the American Legion wrote the original draft of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (58 Stat. 284, chapter 268), commonly referred to as the ``G. I. Bill of Rights''; Whereas the American Legion continues to support employment programs and opportunities for veterans; and Whereas Legionnaires believe that a veteran's service to the United States continues long after the veteran is honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate designates September 16, 2009, as ``The American Legion Day''.
Legislative Committee By Patricia Erickson, Chairperson
Highlighted this month is Senate bill S.951 and House bill H.R. 1941, Hiring Heroes Act of 2011. This bill amends the Wounded Warriors Act to extend until January 1, 2015, the authority of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide the same rehabilitation and vocational benefits to members of the Armed Forces with severe injuries or illnesses as are provided to veterans. It also expands the authority of the VA Secretary to make payments to employers to provide on-job training to veterans to include veterans who have not been rehabilitated to the point of employability. It entitles certain veterans with service-connected disabilities who have exhausted their rights to unemployment benefits to participation in an additional VA rehabilitation program. Limits the duration of such a program to 24 months and makes the 12-year period of eligibility for a VA rehabilitation program inapplicable under such an additional program. Also, instructs the VA Secretary to follow-up on the employment status of veterans who participate in a VA rehabilitation program. Requires (current law encourages) participation by eligible members in the Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) of the Department of Defense (DOD). Requires (under current law, authorizes) the provision of pre-separation counseling to members whose discharge or release is anticipated. The bill instructs the Secretary of Labor to follow-up on the employment status of members who complete their participation in the TAP. Requires participants in the TAP to receive individualized assessments of civilian positions for which they may be qualified based on a joint DOD, VA, and Department of Labor study of the equivalencies between military skills and civilian employment requirements. S.951 directs the VA Secretary to award grants to up to three nonprofit organizations under a collaborative veterans' training, mentoring, and placement program for eligible veterans seeking employment. It authorizes the appointment of an honorably discharged member of the uniformed services to a position in the civil service, without regard to specified civil service examination, certification, and appointment provisions, if otherwise qualified. It also requires executive agencies to establish programs to provide employment assistance to members who are being separated from active duty. Also, directs the Secretary of Labor to carry out an outreach program to provide employment assistance to certain veterans who have been receiving assistance under the Unemployment Compensation for Ex-service members program. It authorizes a pilot program to assess the feasibility of providing work experience to certain members of the Armed Forces who are on terminal leave. Requires (under current law, authorizes) a VA demonstration project on the credentialing and licensing of veterans. Write you Senator and Representative and let them know how you want them to vote on these bills.
POST 131 COURIER
American Legion History American Legion 2009
"If you build it, they will come!" This was the theme of the 1989 film "Field of Dreams," but it is also a good description of the history of The American Legion. When a group of World War I veterans built The American Legion 90 years ago, its foundation of service and advocacy supported four solid pillars - a strong national defense, Americanism, support for veterans and mentoring our youth. Our founders had no way of knowing that their group would one day become the largest and most influential veterans organization on the planet. Our influence is evident every time a veteran applies for a VA mortgage, GI Bill education benefits or disability compensation. It is evident every year when a new group of American Legion Boys Nation participants meets with the President of the United States. Our influence can be seen in the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, where many of the greatest ballplayers in the world can be counted as veterans of American Legion Baseball. The American Legion's influence can be found in the wards of Walter Reed and numerous other military hospitals that have received assistance through The American Legion family's Operation Comfort Warriors campaign. The American Legion is a central player in Blue Star Salutes and other patriotic events held in hundreds of communities across our great nation every year. We are there when natural disasters hit, awarding National Emergency Fund grants often within a few short days of the request. We care about the young people whose parents have made the ultimate sacrifice during the war on terror. The American Legion's Legacy Scholarship Fund was created to help pay for the college educations of those who lost a military parent serving since 9/11. The American Legion influence is found everywhere - in local posts, the halls of Congress, VA centers and places like Bagram and Baghdad, where today's warriors proudly continue the tradition of military service forged by earlier generations of Legionnaires. Through our Heroes to Hometowns program, The American Legion works with the Department of Defense to provide help to those who need to reestablish their lives when they come home. Another way The American Legion supports the troops is by assisting their families while they are deployed. Whether it's mowing a lawn or shopping for groceries, the American Legion's Family Support Network stands ready to assist those in need. The American Legion has supported the Boy Scouts of America since 1919 and today charters 2,700 Scouting units comprising more than 73,000 young men and women. We support our nation's youth not just because they represent one of our four founding pillars, but because they are our future. And ladies and gentlemen, if you have ever witnessed one of our Oratorical contests or met the youth champions that The American Legion honors every year at our national convention, you would know that the future is bright! --continued on page 9
• 5 Labor Day • 8 Regular Post Meeting • 10 District 23 Meeting • 11 Grand Parents Day • 11 Patriots Day • 16 American Legion Day • 17 Constitution Day
POST 131 COURIER
American Legion History American Legion 2009
continued from page 7
Our founders and their successors have built a grand American institution and people have come! Our doors have been open to all wartime veterans since the beginning. Women veterans were eligible to vote for National Commander of The American Legion before they were legally permitted to vote for president of the United States. In 1923, long before the civil rights movement and when hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan wielded unspeakable influence on the times, The American Legion passed Resolution 407. In it we affirmed that those who foster racial, religious or class strife among our people, or who take the law into their own hands are a menace to our liberties, and destructive to our fundamental law. Such action was considered then as it is now, to be inconsistent with the ideals and purposes of The American Legion. In short, The American Legion stated in 1923 what it believes today, that racism is un-American. The American Legion believes not only in what is right for America, we believe that it is our mission to serve America. In fact, The American Legion believes service trumps membership. Even so, it is essential that we tell people about our great organization and that we make all eligible veterans feel welcome. Membership is the lifeblood of our organization and without our members, there would be no one to operate the programs that enable us to serve America so well. If you build it, they will come, but they must know about it! Tell your friends, neighbors and fellow veterans that not only did The American Legion write what became the greatest piece of social legislation ever enacted by Congress - the original GI Bill - but that The American Legion strongly lobbied for passage of the Post-911 Veterans Education Assistance Act, which will enable the current generation of veterans to pursue higher education. The American Legion also championed the preeminent study of the effects of Agent Orange exposure on our Vietnam veterans, which was later presented to Congress and the White House. The American Legion helped put Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder on the Washington radar. We supported the construction of the Vietnam War Memorial with our words and our wallets, raising $1 million in 1982 - more than any other organization. We were major fund raisers for the national World War II and Korean War Memorials and formed a Persian Gulf Task Force to enhance our service to Gulf War veterans. Legionnaires can be proud of the many accomplishments during our organization's 90 years of service to America. As it has been since our founding, citizens of this great nation know that when America calls, American Legionnaires will continue to say "At your service!" Our founders would be very pleased at what this organization has accomplished since 1919. Legionnaires have built it, and many have come. But this organization has never and will never rest on its laurels. To quote an old tune, and I feel it, "The best is yet to come!"
The Story of Taps Veterans Administration
The 24-note melancholy bugle call known as “taps” is thought to be a revision of a French bugle signal, called “tattoo,” that notified soldiers to cease an evening’s drinking and return to their garrisons. It was sounded an hour before the final bugle call to end the day by extinguishing fires and lights. The last five measures of the tattoo resemble taps. The word “taps” is an alteration of the obsolete word “taptoo,” derived from the Dutch “taptoe.” Taptoe was the command — “Tap toe!” — to shut (“toe to”) the “tap” of a keg. The revision that gave us present-day taps was made during America’s Civil War by Union Gen. Daniel Adams Butterfield, heading a brigade camped at Harrison Landing, Va., near Richmond. Up to that time, the U.S. Army’s infantry call to end the day was the French final call, “L’Extinction des feux.” Gen. Butterfield decided the “lights out” music was too formal to signal the day’s end. One day in July 1862 he recalled the tattoo music and hummed a version of it to an aide, who wrote it down in music. Butterfield then asked the brigade bugler, Oliver W. Norton, to play the notes and, after listening, lengthened and shortened them while keeping his original melody. He ordered Norton to play this new call at the end of each day thereafter, instead of the regulation call. The music was heard and appreciated by other brigades, who asked for copies and adopted this bugle call. It was even adopted by Confederate buglers. This music was made the official Army bugle call after the war, but not given the name “taps” until 1874. The first time taps was played at a military funeral may also have been in Virginia soon after Butterfield composed it. Union Capt. John Tidball, head of an artillery battery, ordered it played for the burial of a cannoneer killed in action. Not wanting to reveal the battery’s position in the woods to the enemy nearby, Tidball substituted taps for the traditional three rifle volleys fired over the grave. Taps was played at the funeral of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson 10 months after it was composed. Army infantry regulations by 1891 required taps to be played at military funeral ceremonies. Taps now is played by the military at burial and memorial services, to accompany the lowering of the flag and to signal the “lights out” command at day’s end.