Marine Corps 242nd Birthday Celebration

USMC logoThe Sgt Walter P Ryan Detachment of the Marine Corps League in Riverview Florida has a 242nd Birthday Bash to honor the US Marine Corps on November 4, 2017.

Colonel Steve Emerson USMC Retired will be the guest speaker. Cocktails will be served beginning at 6 p.m. followed by the ceremony and dinner at 7 p.m. at American Legion Post 148, 7240 US Highway 301, Riverview, FL. 

At the conclusion of the meal the Detachment will announce the selection of their Marine of the Year and Associate of the Year. The cost is $15.00 and reservations may be made by contacting Larry Westcott at 813-817-0381.

American Legion Seeks Input on VA Care

As part of a national campaign to improve VA health care, the American Legion is planning a town halls throughout the country. On Jan. 12, 2015, a public meeting is set in Madeira Beach, Fla., to discuss veteran care at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System and other local Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities.american_legion_logo

The town hall meeting, scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Jan. 12, will be at American Legion Post 273 on 600 American Legion Dr. in Madeira Beach. Local veterans, especially those currently receiving VA health care, are encouraged to attend.

The Legion will also set up a Veterans Benefits Center to help veterans enroll in VA health care and schedule VA medical appointments in Room 100 of the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, located at 10000 Bay Pines Blvd. in Bay Pines, Fla. Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 14 and Thursday the 15th.

MacDill Air Force Base Memorial Day Ceremony

Units from the MacDill 6th Air Mobility Wing, Central Command, Special Operations Command and the Joint Communications Support Element come to attention during the morning ceremony.

The wail of bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace.” The sharp crack of three rifle volleys being fired. The playing of “Taps.”  All the traditional Memorial Days moments were present at the MacDill Air Force Base Memorial Day ceremony.

Also there in full dress uniform: units from Special Operations Command, Central Command, the Joint Communications Support Element and the 6th Air Mobility Wing.

Military families and dozens of civilians, invited by MacDill Air Force Base Commander Col. Lenny Richoux, sat on folding chairs under the morning sun.

Memorial Day 2012 wreath at MacDill Air Force Base Air Park.

Richoux said Memorial Day is equally important to respects to the fallen but also remember their families.

“We want them to know that their loved one’s service was for the right causes and the right reasons,” Richoux said after the 30 minute ceremony. “We thank them and we remember them and we stand with them as they continue to grieve the losses of their loved ones.” Continue reading

Veterans Day: How Do You Define Who Is a Veteran?

Photo courtesy of the VA website.

Who are veterans? They are our next door neighbors, our co-workers, our family members.

An essay by a Navy veteran who saw no combat questioned if she should be considered a veteran in the same breath as a WWII seaman who served on a PT boat in the Pacific.

Alison Derr wrote:

There are very few words that catch me quite like “Veteran”. It’s such a short word, but in today’s world, it means so much and identifies a person in just seven letters.

So, we asked how you define who is a veteran. Here are a few of the responses:

From Motorcycle Enthusiast:

If you have a DD 214 you stepped up to the plate regardless of duty station or MOS.

From Lisa, Veteran U.S. Army:

General Douglas MacArthur gave his famous farewell speech to the cadets of West Point on May 12, 1962 where he spoke about “duty, honor, and country”. I believe his words speaks volumes of the word “Veteran”.

“And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead?  Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?  “Their story is known to all of you.  It is the story of the American man-at-arms.  My estimate of him and her (sic) was formed in the battlefields many, many years ago, and has never changed.  I regarded him (her) then, as I regard him now as one of the world’s noblest figures-not only as one of the finest military characters, but also as one of the most stainless.    “His name and fame are the birthright of every American citizen”.  In his youth and strength, his love and loyalty, he gave all that mortality can give.  He needs no eulogy from me, or from any other man.  He has written his own history and written it in red on his enemy’s breast”.

General Douglas MacArthur, May 12, 1962

Continue reading

Honoring the Honor Guards

The "Old Guard" at Arlington National Army (photo courtesy US Army.)

When we buried my father-in-law at Arlington National Cemetery, it was on my birthday. As military families know, you don’t get to pick the date.

Yet, the juxtaposition of the two events served to make that day more memorable. It forever fused my life with a man who I loved, adored and respected for his service during WWI, WWII and the Korean War.

Despite the cemetery’s recent publicized problems, I remember the honor, pride and care shown him and our family by the honor guard.

The statute of a volunteer soldier overlook's the National Cemetery at Dayton, Ohio. (Photo courtesy Dayton VA archives.)

There was less “fanfare” when we buried my father at Dayton’s National Cemetery, but no less care and courtesy shown my father and our family from the memorial service to his graveside.

I write this not as a maudlin retrospect,  but instead as a tribute to the hundreds of honor guards who give of their time so that veterans and their families can receive similar honors during burials at civilian cemeteries.

These honor guards operate quietly and for the most part anonymously every day, standing at attention one last time with a veteran. The Miami Herald published a story, “Duty and Honor,” about such a group from the Coral Gables chapter of the American Legion.

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