As many of you know, a Post Commander’s term in office is usually one year. This article will be my final writing as your Post 3 Commander. A two-year term has given me an opportunity to learn the in’s and out’s of being a commander of a Legion Post. A one-year term just wouldn’t have been enough time to fully understand the workings of the Legion program, and fully understand what needs to happen.
Stepping aside, sliding into the shadows, and letting the new commander take my place just won’t happen. Once you become vested with a group of veterans, your attitude and support of a group is forever changed. I will continue to be involved as Vice Commander of District 15. Gerry Wolf will assume the role of Area 15 Commander and Wade Graft will seek to hold the office of Area C Vice Commander. Dave Timmerman will assume my role as commander of Post 3 with Pam Alm as 1st Vice Commander. At this time we have not nominated our 2nd Vice Commander, or our nomination for a three year term on the Executive Committee.
You will be impressed with the quality of leadership next year. Having said that, no leadership team will succeed or survive without the help and support of its members. When help is needed, step forward and offer assistance. It’s not appropriate to sit back and watch others carry the load. No one person can run our program so your input and help is always needed. You are always welcome to attend the monthly meetings or just stop in the office to give us input.
The past 2 years have provided challenges and opportunities. We have worked on increasing membership by conducting revitalization efforts that included countless hours of personal contacts through the phone and writing. We faced the possibility that our lengthy support of Legion Baseball would end this year with the possibility of funding not being available for upcoming seasons. Despite our 8 percent decrease in membership, this year we have continued to sign up or transfer many members, but have not replaced those who have passed away. It’s a fact that the WW2 and Korean veterans that have supported the Legion are quickly slipping away. It will take a combined effort from all of us to continue to seek replacements.
My term as Commander would not have happened without the support of many members. Our Adjutant has given endless hours maintaining our records and has kept us financially sound. Blue Team Six continues to be a vital part of our VSO goal of honoring our departed veterans. These members show up in all kinds of weather, and have never said no to a request to honor our deceased veterans. Proud would not even come close to how I feel about their service. Monthly newsletters and our quarterly newspaper would not happen without members submitting articles and a very talented member who puts it all together. Thank you to the officers and past members who assisted me throughout my office. The constant support and help from our District Vice Commander has been invaluable. Your patience and guidance has been appreciated. Members of the baseball committee have spent hours maintaining the fields, preparing for and running the games. This program would not exist without their efforts. They are still looking for volunteers to help maintain Legion Baseball. Want to help--all you need to do is ask!
I recently attended a show, “The Brett’s”, in Branson, MO. Andrea Christensen Brett recited a poem to honor all veterans. I have been given permission from the Brett family to include this touching and meaningful honor to all Veterans. I, too, honor your service and sacrifice. Stay strong, involved, and active in your legion post. Your efforts do not go unnoticed.
You may not know me the first time we meet,
I'm just another you see on the street.
But I am the reason you walk and breathe free.
I am the reason for your liberty,
I am a veteran.
I work in the local factory all day,
I own the restaurant just down the way,
I sell your insurance...
I start your IV,
I've got the best looking grandkids you'll ever see.
I'm your grocer, your banker, your child's schoolteacher.
I'm your plumber, your barber, your family's preacher.
But there's part of me you don't know very well.
Just listen a moment, I've a story to tell.
I am a veteran.
I joined the service while still in my teens,
I traded my prom dress for camouflage greens.
I'm the first in my family to do something like this.
I followed my father like he followed his.
Defying my fears and hiding my doubt,
I married my sweetheart before I shipped out.
I missed Christmas, then Easter.
The birth of my son.
But I knew I was doing what had to be done.
I served on the battle front, I served on the base.
I bound up the wounded and begged for God's grace,
I gave orders to fire,
I followed commands,
I marched into conflict in far distant lands.
In the jungle, the desert, on mountains and shores,
In bunkers, in tents, on dank earthen floors.
While I fought on the ground, in the air, on the sea,
My family and friends were home praying for me.
For the land of the free and the home of the brave,
I faced my demons in foxholes and caves.
Then one dreaded day, without drummer or fife,
I lost an arm, my buddy lost his life.
I came home and moved on, but forever was changed.
The perils of war in my memory remain.
I don't really say much. I don't feel like I can,
But I left home a child,
And came home a man.
There are thousands like me,
Thousands more who are gone,
But their legacy lives as time marches on.
White crosses in rows,
And names carved in queue,
Remind us of what these brave souls had to do.
I'm part of a fellowship,
A strong mighty band,
Of each man and each woman,
Who has served this great land.
And when old glory waves,
I stand proud,
I stand tall,
I helped keep her flying over you, over all,
I am a veteran.
Poem by Andrea Brett
Permission Granted by Andrea Brett