American Legion Nelson County Post 42

American Legion News

USAA Tips: Avoid these classic holiday party fails

Content provided courtesy of USAA | By Chad Storlie

We have all seen these mistakes made or maybe made them ourselves — we get too relaxed at a holiday party, drink too much, show up late or don't show up at all. Follow these tips to help make sure you do not make these same mistakes at the upcoming holiday party.

If You Are Invited, You Are Expected to Attend.

In some organizations, the annual holiday party is an important tradition. The best rule of thumb is that if you are invited, then plan to attend. Remember, holiday parties are about tradition, the company leadership's view of giving back to employees, and having non-office interaction with fellow employees. Have a good attitude and make the best of these parties.

When You Dress, Plan on Holiday Traditional Casual.

What to wear is always a challenge. Traditional holiday casual is the best choice. Wear an outfit that is classic, a little conservative, and tasteful. In the case of the holiday party, a little boring is fine. Anything that is too tight, shows too much skin, or too much color can make you the focus of the evening.

Limit Yourself to Two Drinks – The Entire Night.

Limiting yourself to two drinks for the entire night seems like a "buzz kill" and that is correct. Alcohol and holiday parties are where stories come from and you do not want to be a story of that type. Even if you can drink a lot of alcohol and still be yourself – don't do it. People are always looking and evaluating others' alcohol consumption. The two-drink limit eliminates one more risk.

Arrive on Time and Don't Stay Late.

If a party is at a home or restaurant, then be very mindful of arriving on time and not staying too late. Respect your hosts and the restaurant owners because they have gone to the immense trouble to organize, clean, staff, and stock for a great event. By staying within the timeline of the event, you respect everyone's time and effort it took to arrange for a great event.

Stay Within the Dollar Range for A Gift Exchange.

It's easy to want to spend above the limit on a gift exchange, but don't do it. Your gift exchange item should be classy, memorable, creative, and under the dollar limit. When people go above the limit, they make everyone else who stayed under the limit feel bad. Don't be that person — there are lots of ways to have a classic gift. A great idea is a recipe card with all the ingredients already bought — then you can literally give someone their dinner for the next night.

Minimize Politics and Religious Differences in Conversations.

Finding a conversational theme that offends no one seems to get harder every year. Stay clear of politics, office politics, gossip, and anything that puts another person or group down. Instead, stock up on local stories, vacation ideas, a new local restaurant, or a favorite recipe. It also goes without saying that vulgar language of any kind is off limits. Focus on "softball" conversations and topics that allow you to talk freely with anyone.

Be Aware for Others and Don't Forget a Thank You Card.

At every holiday party, be especially aware of any young people that may not follow these rules or feel that they can emulate behavior from more senior members of your organization. In addition, make sure anyone uses a ride share service or taxi cab to get home if they had too much to drink. Finally, a written and mailed "Thank You" card is a great way to offer sincere thanks and make a great impression.

Army-Navy game: 10 things to know

One of the greatest rivalries in both college football and all of sports takes place Dec. 14 when Army and Navy meet at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The two service academies will be meeting for the 120th time since 1890 in front of nearly 70,000 fans and a world television and radio audience.

The Army-Navy game, presented by USAA, will be televised by CBS Sports and broadcasted by the Westwood One radio network, with kickoff scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. Prior to the game, CBS Sports Network will air Inside College Football: Army-Navy March-On, which will included the march-on of the Brigade of Midshipmen at 12:10 pm and the march-on of the Corps of Cadets at 12:40 pm.

Here are 10 things to know about this year's Army-Navy game and the history leading up to it.

1. The Cadets and Midshipmen played the first Army-Navy football game Nov. 29, 1890, on "The Plain" at West Point. Navy had been playing organized football since 1879 and won 24-0 against the newly established Army team. (via

2. Army won Associated Press national titles in 1944 and 1945, and won a share of the national title in 1914, 1916 and 1946. In both '44 and '45, Army was ranked No. 1 and Navy No. 2 heading into their annual game; Army won both games. Navy also won a share of the national championship in 1926. (via

3. The 1963 Army-Navy game was postponed one week following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The game was played a week later, at the insistence of his widow Jacqueline, and a Roger Staubach-led Navy squad downed Army 21-15. The Midshipmen finished the season ranked No. 2 in the country and lost to No. 1 Texas 28-6 in the Cotton Bowl. (via

4. During its first season in 1973, Episode 20 of the hit TV series "M*A*S*H" was titled "The Army Navy Game." In the episode, Navy wins 42-36 in what was the 53rd game of the series. The actual 53rd game was a 7-0 Navy win and took place in 1952. (via

5. The 1983 game was played in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., the only time the game has been played west of the Mississippi River. The nonprofit Army-Navy '83 Foundation was set up to attract donations to cover the estimated $6 million it cost to hold the game.

6. In 2015 Keenan Reynolds did what no other Navy quarterback has ever done: beat his archrival four times. Reynolds both ran and passed for more than 110 yards, leading the Midshipmen past Army 21-17. Reynolds finished fifth in Heisman voting that year, guiding Navy (11-2) to its best record in program history. Reynolds had started the rivalry game since his freshman year, winning 17-13, then 34-7 as a sophomore and 17-10 his junior season.

7. Navy enters this year's game 9-2 and ranked 23rd in the College Football Playoff Rankings, and 21st by the Associated Press. Army is 5-7 after going 29-10 the previous three seasons.

8. Navy leads the all-time series 60-52-7. Army has won three straight games in the series by a combined 12 points, ending Navy's 14-game winning streak from 2002-2015.

9. Both teams will be wearing special uniforms this year. Navy will wear a throwback uniform reminiscent of the academy's 1960s teams – which produced Heisman Trophy winners Jim Bellino (1960) and Roger Staubach (1963) – while Army's uniform honors soldiers of the 1st Cavalry Division.

10. The Commander-In-Chief's Trophy is on the line Saturday for the 48th time in the series. The trophy is awarded to the service academy – either Army, Navy or Air Force – with the best record after playing their two rivals. If Navy defeats Army, the Midshipmen would win the trophy for the 16th time in school history and for the 11th time in the last 17 years. If Army wins, the three academies will share the trophy, which would remain in West Point for another year.

Marine program could get more troops off the battlefield alive

"Corpsmen are tasked with the grim reality of either restoring a person to life or taking them to their final resting place."

Those were the words of Lt. Cmdr. Russell Wier, deputy division surgeon for the 1st Marine Division, as he explained the genesis of Valkyrie, a fresh whole blood transfusion initiative he is presently spearheading, designed to get more troops off the battlefield alive.

Marines are often charged with going on dangerous missions where some lose their lives, but they're not alone – Navy corpsmen go on these missions with them, playing a guardian angel role.

"The number one killer on the battlefield is massive hemorrhage," Cmdr. Joseph Kotora, division surgeon for the 2nd Marine Division, said. "Right now we use a junctional tourniquet and it does a good job as long as we don't move the patient, but patient movement is a battlefield necessity."

Wier, who twice deployed to Iraq as a casualty evacuation pilot, would agree with that sentiment. He recalled a tragic incident in 2007 when a CH-46E was shot down while transporting urgently needed blood to a remote surgical facility. It resulted in the loss of five Marines and two Navy corpsmen aboard the aircrew. The event underscored the importance of having blood available far forward in the battle space. As a physician 10 years later, Wier became aware of the possibility of conducting walking blood bank operations at the small-unit level. Realizing the life-saving potential there, he committed to bringing fresh whole blood transfusion to the Marine Corps. And the Valkyrie program was born.

Wier began developing the Valkyrie program in 2017. "The ultimate goal is to make it a program of record in the Marine Corps, which will change the way Marines and corpsmen operate in future wars," he said. "Right now, we're implementing it across the 1st Marine Division, Cmdr. Kotora and his team are beginning to implement this across the 2nd Marine Division, and we're working with a team within the 3rd Marine Division to start establishing trainers on Okinawa, too."

Fresh whole blood transfusion is not a new concept; it dates back to World War I and World War II, Kotora said. "We got away from this sort of treatment during Vietnam because we outstripped the blood bank supply and had to start breaking up blood components," he said. "But what is old is new again, and as we learn more about trauma and what the body needs to combat trauma, we recognize that fresh whole blood is the preferred fluid for resuscitation."

Other branches of the military have already begun bringing fresh whole blood transfusion back to life. The Army's 7th Ranger Regiment successfully began fielding their own program in 2015, which also is designed to reduce the number of hemorrhage-related deaths by replacing junctional tourniquets with the transfusion of fresh whole blood to soldiers on the battlefield.

"Special Forces have been doing this for years," Kotora said, "so we thought, 'why not us?'" It was a valid question: Why not the Marines?

Thanks in no small part to Wier's and Kotora's belief and persistence, the 2nd Marine Division has been given the opportunity to notionally test fresh whole blood transfusion during Marine Air Ground Task Force Warfighting Exercise I-20. It was a division-scale, unscripted, force-on-force exercise, within which a select group of corpsmen were immersed in an intensive four-day program and learned how to perform fresh whole blood transfusion in a tactical field environment. Notional casualties are certain in this exercise, and this kind of training gives the corpsmen the opportunity to test their newfound skills in a lifelike scenario.

Various aspects of trauma need to be treated during a massive hemorrhage, and that's why fresh whole blood is the preferred resuscitation fluid. It has clotting factors, acid binding, oxygen transportation capabilities and it is warm, which addresses the hypothermia aspect of trauma. It replaces what the body is leaking out in a way that separated components or saline cannot.

"Not only is fresh whole blood transfusion the most effective form of resuscitation, it is also the cheapest," Kotora said. "Whereas one unit of stored whole blood is about $180 on the civilian market, we are able to safely collect that same amount of blood from a fellow Marine at a fraction of the cost. And because it is drawn fresh from the donor, on-site, it is more effective than stored blood."

There is no additional cost to train the corpsmen because their salary is already paid. The only additional cost is the price of the transfusion kits, which are about $120 per kit. It requires two or three of the kits, plus some additional equipment, to outfit corpsmen. That translates to about $400 per corpsman on the battlefield. "I think one would be hard-pressed to find medical interventions for that price that are going to be as fruitful in saving somebody's life," Kotora said.

The transfusion process would start about four months prior to deployment. A blood drive is conducted, which allows physicians to identify individuals with a specific type of blood: disease free, low-titer (a low antibody count), Type-O blood. If the potential donor meets certain criteria, they will be placed on the unit's blood roster and ultimately receive a card that identifies them as a qualified donor. Kotora said under the program each corpsman would know which Marines in their platoon are on the donor roster, which squads they are in, and where these individuals could be located at any given time.

For the more dangerous missions, where casualties are all but certain, blood can be drawn in the field and refrigerated in field-expedient coolers for 48-72 hours. "We wouldn't take blood to the field just to have corpsmen wait for weeks or months before they use it, and that's why we need the option to draw blood on site, right before a mission, for transport on the backs of corpsmen. That's the ultimate goal we're working toward," Kotora said. "The major risk involved with this procedure is bodily rejection of the transfusion, which is almost always due to clerical error, meaning the wrong blood type is administered to the patient. So we mitigate this by only drawing Type-O blood – the universal blood type – and then we ensure that it is tested, re-tested and then tested again."

Kotora believes the program will not want for blood donors. "I never see an issue with having enough blood," he said. "The esprit de corps of being a Marine, and the unit comradery that Marines feel, is more than enough to make them want to contribute. Once they understand what this program is, how it helps the individual Marine, and that they could be the recipient of blood one day, it really gives them a vested interest in the program."

Marines and sailors are more likely to be bold and daring on the battlefield when they know there is a greater chance of survival if something goes wrong. The Valkyrie program gives them the confidence they need to be aggressive and complete the mission. "We don't know exactly how many people this will save because every injury is different, but we do know that we will save a lot more people with it than without it," Kotora said.

The name of the proposed Marine Corps program – Valkyrie – is drawn from Norse mythology. "Valkyries were these angels of war that soared over ancient battlefields and gathered the fallen. They manifested the capability of restoring the warrior to life or shouldered the responsibility of transporting them to Valhalla," Wier said as he explained the genesis of the program. "I liked the imagery of it ... that presence on the battlefield alongside the warrior. I think this program enhances our corpsmen's capacity to restore life."

Publicity for a centennial post

Doug Capra is a historian of the town of Seward, Alaska – and a member of the local American Legion Squadron 5. These two parts of his life came together last month, when the local Seward Journal in its Nov. 20-26 edition featured an extended history of Post 5, founded in 1919.

With permission from Capra – who has been in the Sons for three years – and the Journal, below is the text of the centennial article on Post 5.


Seward's American Legion to celebrate 100 years

By Doug Capra

A hundred years ago this week, on November 19, 1919, the Seward Gateway announced on its front page "WILL ORGANIZE AMERICAN LEGION HERE TOMORROW." The meeting would be held at 8 p.m. at the town hall, the old Alaska Railroad building on the site of present-day city hall. The newspaper urged "that all former service men, Army, Navy, etc., are asked to turn out and show the remainder of Alaska and those in the states that in everything the Northerners have done, they have gone over the top and will perfect an American Legion here that will be a hummer."

To "go over the top" was an expression that came out of the Great War itself. For an attack, soldiers in the trenches were ordered to climb up, over and out of their protection and go over the top wall of the trench. This often meant exposing themselves to fierce artillery, poison gas and/or machine gun fire. In civilian lingo, the expression meant to do more than just one's patriotic duty; it meant to go above and beyond what was required or even expected.

Below the Nov. 19 article another headline announced, "AMERICANS AT ANCHORAGE." A week earlier, the newspaper had noted that an "Americans" organization had been started in Juneau with Alaska Governor Thomas Riggs Jr. as its president. The purpose of the group was to head off the radical wave people believed threatened to take over the country. The "Americans" vowed to fight attempts to change our form of government and to combat propaganda. This was especially aimed at the 1917 Russian Revolution, specifically at Bolshevism. The newly formed group invited foreigners to join and promised to help and assist all aliens, who have full faith in American principles, to become citizens. They expected every patriotic Alaskan to join the organization, and they hoped other towns would form their own "Americans" group.

On Nov. 20, 1919, the Seward Gateway again announced the meeting to form a local American Legion post. "Many in Seward had been wondering why definite steps had not been taken towards the formation of an American Legion here. The first steps are to be taken tonight at a meeting of the former soldiers, those of the Navy, or any other branch of the fighting service of the United States. In Seward there is a great nucleus for this organization, many who have distinguished themselves in various ways in the fighting overseas."

A headline in that same issue shouted, "FIND BIG RED PLOT." Agents in Philadelphia had uncovered a Bolshevik plot to "slay all officials with explosives to be sent through the Christmas mails." A "round-up of Reds" was underway with many arrests expected. In other news, a miners strike occupied Tacoma; foreign powers had decorated 15,384 American officers and men, including 11,000 who had received the French Croix de Guerre; and Wilson's League of Nations was in trouble in the U.S. Senate.

On Nov. 21, the front page of the Seward Gateway headlined, "POST ISAAC EVANS AMERICAN LEGION IS FORMED HERE."

The new organization's charter listed 23 names even though they only needed 15. They expected the number to double within a few months. Elwin Swetmann became temporary chairman and D.W. Stoddard temporary secretary and treasurer. The group selected a committee to draw up bylaws and a constitution. Those eligible for membership could be from any branch of service, but had to be "under arms, at the front, in camps or on duty elsewhere from April 6th, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918, or those of allied nations."

The first American Legions were formed specifically for veterans of the Great War. The few Union Civil War soldiers had their own Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), and Confederate veterans had their groups as did the more recent Spanish-American War soldiers. From today's perspective it might seem these new American Legion groups were being too selective. But remember, in 1919 there was yet to be a World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War, and Afghanistan and Iraq War. Today's American Legions are open to all military veterans … who served since Dec. 7, 1941.

The purpose of Seward's Isaac Evans Post – named after a beloved Seward U.S. Deputy Marshal who was murdered in town that same year – was "to uphold and defend the constitution (sic) of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one-hundred-per-cent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of the association in the Great War; to include a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and masses; to promote peace and good will to commit to posterity the principles of Justice, Freedom and Democracy; to consecrate and sanctify comradeship by devotion to mutual helpfulness," reported the Gateway. "The local post would be absolutely non-partisan when it came to politics and would promote no candidacies," was reported as well.

The Seward Gateway reported 23 original members of the local post: Willis O. Perry, William L. Mooney, B.V. High, Einer H. Thuesen, George L. Benning, John O. Sherlock, George E. Stevens, J.T. Coulton, Otto H. Poehlmann, Elwin Swetmann, Arthur B. Gray, E.T. Krefting, George B. Nelson, Ira S. Bailey, Frank Coulton, Peter Lahis, Chrysos Mamelides, J.B. Denny, J.C. Slaven, J.J. Finnegan, Grant Carlson, George Cotter and D.W. Stoddard. Thirty people signed the actual application submitted to the national American Legion office.

Why did they name the post after murdered U.S. Deputy Marshal Isaac Evans? He had no military background and did not fight in the Great War. Had he lived, Evans wouldn't have been eligible for membership. Evans had been gunned down by 19-year-old William Dempsey in early September and died a few days later. The marshal and his wife were beloved Seward residents, active in various organizations. [Evans' name is not part of Post 5's legal name, however.]

His murder was fresh in Seward's mind and the trial of his murderer was happening as the veterans met. In a resolution passed the evening they organized, they explained that the post's designation was to honor and perpetuate the name of one whose daily life typified those ideals of Americanism fostered and sustained by the constitution of the American Legion; a man whose unselfish devotion to duty and to the enforcement of law and order finally exacted from him the supreme sacrifice.

These soldiers of the Great War recognized that – although not a military soldier – U.S. Deputy Marshal Isaac Evans had been a combatant in the war of law and order and had given his life for his country. With the violence of 1919 on their minds, members of Seward's new American Legion Post understood that law enforcement officers like Evans stood between anarchy and the rule of law. On Nov. 13, the Seward Gateway reprinted an article from the Juneau Empire reminding citizens that three federal officials had been murdered in Alaska during the last year. The first was 36-year-old U.S. Deputy Marshal Clyde D. Calhoun of Craig who had been gunned down on Feb. 12. Calhoun had just married a Craig schoolteacher the year before. Evans had been the second. Recently, Asst. District Attorney Ragan had been murdered.

"These men died for their country and fellow men as heroically as did soldiers on the battlefields of France," the Juneau Empire said. "Sometimes we are apt to forget the plodding man in obscure place who goes about performing his duty from day to day. Somebody has said that the greatest hero is not the man to whom comes the opportunity to do something so dramatic in its nature that it attracts the attention of many, rather (it is) the man who in the routine and humdrum of his daily life does his duty to his country, his community, his family, his associates, his fellow men. It is much the more difficult task…Those men whose routine and humdrum it is to enforce the laws the people have made for their government are consistently exposed to the caprices of the mad and vengeance of the vicious. They know it, and they face it with calmness."

Seward's Post 5 American Legion has remained an active organization for the last 100 years.

The post's centennial celebration will be held on the date of the original charter award, Dec. 31.

Doug Capra is the author of "The Spaces Between: Stories from the Kenai Mountains to the Kenai Fjords." The full story of U.S. Deputy Marshal Isaac Evans can be found in that book. The draft of a new book he's writing about American artist Rockwell Kent's 1918-1919 stay on Fox Island in Resurrection Bay can be found at


A year of successes, improved lives

Dear American Legion Family and Friends,

As we move toward the end of another year, it's a good time to reflect on the successes of the past 12 months and look toward the promise of the future.

The American Legion Family has much to celebrate from 2019. A successful centennial celebration. New laws that will provide assistance for veterans. More than $1 million distributed during January to Coast Guard members whose paychecks were cut off due to the federal government shutdown.

While those achievements made national headlines, The American Legion's impact was felt through individual obligation to communities spanning the United States. It's no exaggeration to say that Legionnaires had a positive influence every second of every day of every month throughout 2019. Here's a small sampling:

10,000 — Number of care packages sent to deployed servicemembers by American Legion Post 201 in Alpharetta, Ga.

• $131,855 — Amount in American Legion youth scholarships disbursed in July from National Headquarters, led by $51,525 in American Legion Samsung Scholarships.

15,000 — Minimum number of meals served in one week by American Legion Post 20 in Oklahoma after Arkansas River flooding left citizens stranded and first responders in need of support.

3,500 — Approximate number of soldiers, veterans, spouses and family members who received assistance from The American Legion and others at just one job fair in Fort Hood, Texas.

25,594 — Minimum number of troop-support activities and efforts conducted by American Legion volunteers nationwide during the 2018-2019 membership year.

• $744,436 — Amount in American Legion Legacy Scholarship funds disbursed last year to the children of military personnel who had died on active duty since 9/11 or children of Post-9/11 veterans having been assigned a VA disability rating of 50 percent or greater.

350 — Number of families at Fort Riley who received a full Thanksgiving dinner, compliments of the Kansas American Legion Family. The Big Red One Turkey Run has grown from the original effort 12 years ago when a post distributed 16 turkeys at Riley.

What do all of these numbers add up to?

Countless lives enriched by The American Legion. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generous contributions toward supporting veterans, mentoring youth, improving communities, funding scholarships and so much more.

American Legion calls for reviewing vulnerabilities at U.S. military bases

In the wake of the apparent terrorist attack at Naval Air Station Pensacola, American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford called for greater scrutiny of all foreign nationals visiting or training at U.S. military installations.

"Our hearts break for the victims and families of this horrific attack," Oxford said. "Just like there were signs that U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Hasan adhered to anti-American ideologies before he unleashed his attack at Fort Hood 10 years ago, there are disturbing reports that Mohammed Alshamrani revealed extremist views on social media before he engaged in Friday's killing spree. The American Legion finds it disturbing that a military officer from Saudi Arabia had access to a firearm at a location where our own servicemembers were unarmed. Sen. Rick Scott of Florida called for a review of all U.S. military programs that train foreign nationals. The American Legion agrees. We understand the need to train our allies. But we must first ensure that we are not training those who wish us harm."

Oxford added that the recent anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor is a poignant reminder that America must always be vigilant. "In addition to the tragedy in Pensacola, innocent Americans were killed in recent weeks at Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story in Virginia and at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard," he said. "I recognize each case had entirely different circumstances, but servicemembers and civilian employees of our military work in an inherently dangerous profession. They take these risks on behalf of the United States of America. The American Legion believes that every effort must be made to reduce vulnerabilities and prevent such tragedies. This includes learning from each incident and making the necessary adjustments. It also means offering our complete support, compassion and prayers for those impacted."


Legion Family honoring veterans through Wreaths Across America

A three-decade tradition will continue this weekend when Americans coast to coast will gather to "remember our fallen U.S. veterans, honor those who serve, and teach children the value of freedom" through the placing of wreaths on veterans' graves.

Saturday, Dec. 14, marks the 28th National Wreaths Across America Day. More than 1 million remembrance wreaths will be laid on the graves of America's fallen veterans throughout the country and overseas as part of National Wreaths Across America Day.

American Legion Family members again are going to be leading events across the country, including those in Wisconsin who have placed tens of thousands of wreaths over the years. A year ago, members of the Department of Wisconsin Legion Family were able to raise the funds to place 7,274 wreaths at the Wisconsin Veterans Memorial Cemetery in King – one for every gravesite.

The effort, spearheaded by the Wisconsin District 8 American Legion Riders, again will result in a wreath being placed on all 7,400 gravesites at King Cemetery on Dec. 14. Evelyn McSherry – who has led the effort with her husband Ray – said this year's effort came "down to the wire."

A Legion Rider and member of Auxiliary Unit 153, Evelyn has been involved with Wreaths Across America for nearly a decade. She said she and Ray, a past two-term state ALR director and a member of Palmer-Ritchie-Thomas Post 153 in Pittsville, are looking for someone to mentor to eventually take over the program, but "will not do that until we are sure it will continue."

Further east, Robert I. Nickerson Post 382 in Squantum, Mass., will be placing more than 7,400 wreaths at several cemeteries in the area, including more than 3,300 at Mount Wollaston Cemetery in Quincy. Ceremonies will take place at both Mount Wollaston and Pine Hill Cemetery; prior to that, wreaths will be placed at five smaller cemeteries in the area. Some of the veterans graves date back to the Revolutionary War, including Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams.

Post 382 members have been participating in Wreaths Across America for 10 years, first at Arlington National Cemetery and then at Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne before moving to local cemeteries.

And in Elmira, N.Y., Post 443 members work with other local nonprofits and businesses to place wreaths at more than 6,000 veterans graves at Woodlawn National Cemetery. In August, the post held a motorcycle rally to raise funds for the wreaths.

The following are a few more examples of American Legion Family members who will be involved with Wreaths Across America events this weekend. American Legion posts and Legion Family members participating in this annual program are encouraged to share their wreath-laying stories on the Legion's web page

To find a Wreaths Across America event in your area, click here. For all social media postings, use the hashtag #WAA2019.


• In Hot Springs, Warren Townsend American Legion Post 13 is placing approximately 300 wreaths at Memorial Gardens Cemetery. A ceremony that includes a bugler and the service song of each branch of the military will take place prior to the placing of the wreaths. The post collected many donations for the wreaths in September at the Hot Springs Farmers & Artisans Market as part of a celebration of the Post's 100 year anniversary this year.

• In Cabot, members of Criswell Robinson Post 71 get together to purchase wreaths for veterans who were members of the post and are buried at private cemeteries in the Central Arkansas area. Other members of the post lay wreaths at the Little Rock National Cemetery. "It's a true honor to participate," said Post 71 Public Relations Officer Susie Goebel.


• At Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Colorado Springs, American Legion Neal Thomas Jr. Post 209's honor guard will be posting the colors for the Wreaths Across America ceremony. After the ceremony, the public will help lay wreaths on the approximately 2,000 veterans graves at Memorial Gardens.

• In Eaton, Norman Hutchinson American Legion Post 26 is sponsoring wreaths being placed on the 395 veterans gravesites at Eaton Cemetery, including that of Civil War Medal of Honor recipient George G. Moore. The post also has 50 specific grave requests from individuals who wish to place a wreath on the grave of a family member or friend. Post 26 Adjutant Bill Martin said the post conducted multiple fundraisers for the project, including through local schools. "(It's) a great way to remember, honor (and) teach about our locally interred veterans," Martin said.


• In Tampa, American Legion Post 5 will place more than 700 wreaths on the graves of those buried at American Legion Cemetery.

• American Legion Post 402 Panama City Beach is placing wreaths on veterans graves at West Bay Cemetery.


• In Elwood, American Legion Post 1977 will continue a tradition of placing wreaths at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery and also helps with a ceremony at the Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall in Marseilles.

• In Buckley, American Legion Post 432 is sponsoring placing 174 wreaths at St. John's Lutheran


For the second year in a row, Chapman-St. Onge-Dankowski American Legion Post 299 in Mackinac Island is leading an effort to place 225 wreaths on veterans graves at two cemeteries.


Sons of The American Legion Squadron 434 is participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at Springfield National Cemetery. Members of the post's Legion Family donated several wreaths.

North Carolina

The Legion Family from Post 65 in Statesville will participate in a Wreaths Across America ceremony at Salisbury National Cemetery.


In Girard, American Legion Post 235 and Blackstone Funeral Home are teaming up to place more than 250 wreaths at Girard City Cemetery.


More than 160 wreaths will be placed at the Greenwood Cemetery, thanks to the efforts of Stevens-Chute Auxiliary Unit 4.

South Carolina

At Inman Cemetery, American Legion Post 45 has led the effort to place more than 240 wreaths.


• In Katy, Jonathan D. Rozier American Legion Post 164 led the effort for the third annual local Wreaths Across America event. The post helped raised enough to place wreaths on approximately 445 veterans graves at Magnolia Cemetery. A ceremony involving community leaders, veterans and their families will take place prior to the placing of the wreaths.

• In Lufkin, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 113 led a sponsorship effort that will bring 500 wreaths to be place at the Garden of Memories Cemetery.


The Post 50 Legion Family in Castleton is participating in a Wreaths Across America event at Hillside Cemetery. And Post 69 in Arlington is participating at the Vermont Veterans Home Cemetery.


American Legion Post 10 in Manassas in placing wreaths on veterans graves at the Manassas Cemetery. More than 200 wreaths will be placed, including one on the grave of Civil War Medal of Honor recipient Solomon Joseph Hottenstein.


Ten things you didn't know about the National Guard

Dec. 13 is the birthday of the National Guard. According to, "In a move that would create the first militia on the North American continent, the Massachusetts General Court in Salem issued an order on Dec. 13, 1636, requiring all able-bodied men between 16 and 60 years old to create a standing Army for protection."

Today, the Army National Guard (and Air National Guard, created after World War II) are active across the country and around the world. Here are some things you may not know about the service branch.

1. Each member of the National Guard is sworn to uphold two constitutions: federal and state. (via

2. Two presidents have served in the National Guard in its modern structure: Harry S. Truman and George W. Bush. (via

3. Celebrities who served in the National Guard include actors Tom Selleck, John Amos, Bob Crane and James Garner. (via

4. The term "national guard" was popularized by Marquis de Lafayette to describe each state's militia. It didn't become an official term until 1916. (via

5. National Guard soldiers have fought in every single war since its founding. (via We Are The Mighty)

6. Air Guard units have deployed a variety of aircraft and support units to defend the 2,500 square miles of air space around Washington, D.C. (via

7. The Washington, D.C., National Guard is the only federal militia in the National Guard. It is controlled by the president. (via

8. Three of the first five divisions to enter World War I were from the National Guard. (via

9. The National Guard has its own museum in Washington, D.C. According to its website, "The National Guard Memorial Museum is the first and only national museum dedicated to telling the story of the National Guard." Go to to learn more.

10. In 2016, the National Guard was added to the American Legion Spirit of Service Award (, designed to celebrate volunteer activity among active-duty servicemembers in the different military branches.

Vehicle donations support Legion programs

Owners of unused vehicles can donate them for tax breaks while also benefiting American Legion programs. Proceeds from each auction sale via Charitable Auto Rides Service, Inc. (CARS) will go toward Legion charities and programs.

The American Legion Vehicle Donation Program strives to accept most vehicles, including cars, trucks, trailers, boats, RVs, motorcycles, campers, off-road vehicles, planes, heavy equipment and farm machinery. CARS will pick up vehicles at a time convenient to the donor at no cost.

Those wishing to donate a vehicle should fill out a form online at or call (844) 453-4466. For more information about the program, go to

If you have questions about the donation program, such as when you'll receive your tax receipt or if you need your vehicle title, visit for answers.


USAA Tips: Strong finishes and new beginnings

Content provided courtesy of USAA

You might find yourself hoping to hear back from a few prospective employers on some careers you applied for. Here's a list of 14 things you can do to make a strong finish and start a new beginning.

1. Use this "downtime" to create new versions of your résumé.

Over time, you might recognize the fact that the original version of your résumé needs to be modified to meet specific career choices. Does your résumé contain words that match the job description? Word choice is important and creating a résumé that reflects your skills that align with the job in question can help. Having more than one résumé, with each one tailor-made for a specific position, is the key.

2. Follow up appropriately with those you've been in contact with.

With respect to the fact that anyone you've interviewed with (along with any and all administrative assistants or employees) can now be seen sprinting toward the finish of 2019, you need to figure out how much communication is enough communication. Did you send or answer all the follow-up emails during the "post-interview" phase of getting hired? Careful attention to how you follow up (or whether you follow up again if no response) needs to be considered. You don't want to overstep your bounds, appear desperate, or otherwise seem too pushy.

3. Review ALL of the positions you've applied for, even if you've been sent a rejection letter.

Companies change all the time. The position you submitted your résumé for earlier in the year might have a late-breaking position open today. As mergers, acquisitions, and new divisions of an existing company spring up, you might find a position that just opened up. Just like panning for gold, you just never know until you revisit places you've searched before.

4. Keep current not only on what's happening at each company you're interested in, but in the industry as well.

As mentioned above, with change being constant, you'll fare better if you aware of what's happening within a particular company or within the market segment in question. For example, if you follow a specific type of industry and learn that new laws and regulations take effect in 2020, you might be able to leverage this information to showcase your current awareness of the industry in an interview setting. What's more, if your skills and abilities demonstrate a particular proficiency related to these changes, you can shine above the other candidates for the position. Keep current on what's happening.

5. Take advantage of the post-holiday sales.

Do you like to save money? Just after the holidays, you can count on things to go on sale. What better time to upgrade your wardrobe, purchase that new briefcase or computer, or buy plane tickets to a career fair or trade show so you can get in front of potential employers.

6. Brush up on those interview skills.

Just like all those things you did while in uniform — physical fitness tests, weapons qualifications, promotion board preparation, etc. — interviewing is a perishable skill. You need to continue to practice your answers to interview questions so that they don't sound canned or unnatural. Once those words leave your mouth, there's no turning back. Find a friend or relative or someone that can play employer/hiring manager so you can keep your skills sharp.

7. Re-connect with your professional and personal references.

The last thing you want to happen is to have a prospective employer reach out to one of your references and get a "disconnect". What I mean by disconnect is not only a bad or disconnected phone number, but a "disconnect" in what you told your reference about the work you wish to pursue, and the information shared during the reference check. Make sure everyone is on the same sheet of music, so to speak.

8. Clean up your online presence.

More and more, prospective employers perform some serious data-mining in an effort to find "fool's gold" — those crazy things you might have posted online. We're all guilty of posting things we maybe shouldn't have — especially given the fact that much of what we post can be easily and erroneously taken out of context. But, I think it is important to pay close attention to your posts and pages. As a general rule; clean them up if you think Grandma might blush.

9. Seek out new networking opportunities.

You can expand your network easily these days with just a few mouse clicks or the old fashioned way. Join a group on your favorite social media website. Attend a meeting at your local civic organization. Next time you go to the VA, stop by the employment assistance office. Go to the military-centric organizations that have their fingers on the pulse of who's hiring. All kinds of organizations exist out there and you can simply make a new friend and connect with the larger military community.

10. Set goals.

A new year means a new set of goals. You need to set realistic goals. Use this time to plan your next move and make a plan for success. And remember, a goal needs to have a specific date attached to it.

11. Stay connected with people who can help you get to where you want to go.

Think about your military career — did you do it all alone? Of course not. You had lots of people screaming at you at the beginning, and maybe throughout your career. On a serious note though, some of the people you served with know what life on the outside is all about. People you served with have job leads. People you served with can help you stay positive now, just like they did when times were tough while in uniform. And let me just say, the challenges you've faced while in uniform pale in comparison to your challenge of getting hired. You already have that "stick-to-it" attitude that will serve you well as you move closer to getting hired.

12. Tell a POSITIVE story.

Ever been around someone who complains all the time? Have you ever been around someone who absolutely drains you while you're in their presence? Remember a fun time you had up until the point someone became a "buzzkill"? My advice to you: Don't become that person. Think about it. Would you hire someone who lives in a world of negativity? If you let negative thoughts override you, the best you have to offer will be smothered. The end result, you'll have a long road to travel until you arrive at "Hired!" Ask those around you how you come across. Ask them to be honest, and then be honest with yourself. Strive to keep the most positive attitude possible and watch how people respond to you, especially a prospective employer.

13. Take a break now and then.

You can sometimes become obsessed with getting hired and avoiding the unemployment line. You need to maintain balance in all you do in order to keep your sanity while awaiting the call for an interview or an offer letter. You might consider making a solid plan in which you schedule your job-hunting time. For example, you already have the habit of physical fitness nailed as a result of your military upbringing. Maintaining an exercise schedule now will do what it did while you wore the uniform — that workout helped keep you healthy, mentally alert, and focused at the start of your day! Make sure to get plenty of sleep so that your mind is razor sharp during any preparatory tasks, phone interviews, and live interviews. And, have some fun while you wait for that good news that's bound to happen at some point.

14. Finally, stay encouraged.

Take a moment and think about your entry into military service. What did you really and truly know about the military before your first day in uniform? Who did you know who you could reach out to and ask questions about the military? How did you feel the first day you had your drill instructor screaming in your face versus the day that same person shook your hand and congratulated you on a job well done? Can you name the people in your unit that called cadence, spoke or yelled encouraging words to you when you thought you'd fall out of a run? Or maybe you served in a combat zone with people who had your back. Do you remember things they did to encourage you to make it through? The point is that you're about to enter a new phase in life. Just like when you ventured into the unknown military life, your next journey has a lot of uncertainty. But the things you experienced while in uniform prepared you for life out of the uniform. You will succeed if you surround yourself with people who have your best interests in mind. Remember that you already have a track record of success.