Travis Post 76 Newsletters 2002

March 2002

Commanders Comments

Guy Davis, Post Commander

Tidbits of Information

The following bits of information are forwarded from the "Afterburner", a publication for USAF retired personnel.

Your DD Form 214 May Not Be Safe

All military in the past have been advised to record their DD Form 214 at the local Court House for safekeeping. It now seems that this practice may be ill advised. The problem is that the DD Form 214 is a public record at the Court House. A branch in Air Force Personnel Center reported that information surfaced where a military member's identity was stolen by the act of an unscrupulous person.
If you have registered your DD form 214 with a local registering agency, you are advised to contact that agency to ensure your DD Form 214 is being safeguarded from viewing by unauthorized individuals. Your DD Form may be perfectly safe because not all documents are recorded and maintained the same in all counties in all states. If public access is authorized, someone could obtain a copy for some unlawful purpose. This document should be protected as any other sensitive document (wills,marriage and birth certificates, insurance policies).

Aviation Security Act Gives Military Retirees Hiring Preference

The Aviation and Transportation Act of 2001, signed by President Bush November 19th,gives military veterans who retired after a career in service a preference when it comes to filling the new private sector and federal jobs created by the legislation.
Retirees who would like to be considered for one of thses critical positions should send their name and e-mail address to: screener@ost.dot.gov or call the DOT Connection at 202-366-9392 or 1-800-525-2878 to leave your name and address. You will be sent an application.

VA Unveils Plans for National Museum Honoring Veterans

Plans for a national museum were unveiled November 8th at a reception hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.
"Our nation's veterans have made tremendous contributions to our country and its history," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi. "This new museum will tell that story to generations of Americans, both born and not yet born."

John Brieden Introduction

Post 41 in Lockhart is hosting John Brieden on April 2 at 7:00 p.m. John is running for National Commander. A dinner will be served and then John will be introduced. Any one wishing to go to Lockhart for this introduction, please contact Guy Davis.

Commanders Message

One of my favorite TV staions is the History Channel and a few weeks back, I saw a program on the History Channel that brought back a lot of memories.
The show was about a fighter pilot shot down in April 1972 in Vietnam. The pilot was finally rescued after several days and he gave a running account of the rescue effort. One of the tihings he described was how one of the rescue helicopters from the 37th Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron was blown out of the sky. The entire crew was lost.
The helicopter that the fighter pilot described had a lot of significance for me. The co-pilot was a young 1st Lieutenant, John Call. John and I had gone through CH-53 helicopter training at Hill AFB, Utah from September 1971 till December 1971. I think John had gone to the University of Maryland, and had a girlfriend from TCU.
Captain Mark Schribler, another CH-53 pilot, John and I flew together on the same February 3, 1972 flight to the Phillippines and sat beside each other. John and I roomed together for survival training during our short stay in the Phillippines. Mark and I went to Nakhon Phanon Thailand and John went to Vietnam.
I remember being told that John was shot down and killed. It was a crushing blow. I later found out that John was not the regular co-pilot with that crew. The regular co-pilot was sick and John had volunteered to go. He had been in country just about 2 months and given his life trying to rescue someone else.
You know John is not unique in his sacrifice. Many of you probably know someone just like John, but John was the one that was special to me. John represents to me all the brave men and women who sacrificed to keep our country free. Tonight I go to bed in a warm house with no threat to my life because of these brave souls. I will say a prayer for John, for all the others who sacrificed their lives, and for all our military personnel braving the hostilities that our country faces. Please join me in that prayer.

Planning Schedule

Executive and Business Meeting...1st Monday...April 1st,May 6th,June 3rd.

Dinner Meeting...3rd Monday...March 18th,April 15th, May 20th

ENTREE for March 18th dinner meeting will be Ham with fruit sauce.

The speaker for the dinner meeting March 18th will be Mr. Ken Wallingford, Vietnam POW,U.S. Army,1969-1973. He entered the U.S. Army in 1969 and completed basic and advanced infantry training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Completed paratrooper school at Fort Benning, Georgia, and attended Special Forces, phase one training, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
He was sent to Vietnam in August, 1970 and assigned as a sniper with the 25th Infantry Division. One year later, he volunteered for a second tour of duty as a military advisor with the MACV (Military Assistance Command Vietnam).
While advising 200 South Vietnamese troops on April 5,1972 at Loc Ninh, South Vietnam, he and four other Americans came under heavy mortar and artillery fire from three divisions (30,000 troops) of North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers. After two and one-half days of oppressive and massive fighting, the numerically superior enemy overran his camp. Severely wounded, he was one of those taken prisoner (six days before his scheduled discharge). Imprisoned in the jungles of Cambodia in a five-foot by six-foot "tiger cage" for over ten months, he was repatriated in February 1973 following the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement. He was one of the first two Texans to return home.
Military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, Army Commendation Medal for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Prisoner of War Medal, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, Combat Infantry Badge, Paratrooper Badge and eight other medals and unit Citations.
Director of Veterans Liason for the Texas Veterans Land Board since September 1988, he is responsible for broadening the VLB's interest and awareness of needs in the veteran community, both on the state and national levels. He has addressed areas and issues that can benefit from the agency's resources. Developed and maintained effective working relationships with veteran organizations, state and federal agencies dealing with veteran programs and issues, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

August 2002

Vice-Commanders Comments


by Bill Stramler
HEAR YE!! HEAR YE!!
THE BRITISH ARE COMING!!

Now that I have your attention,come to the Post to see what is happening. Remember our Business Meeting the first Monday of each month. Third Monday is always a good time for bringing new prospective members to the Post for a good meal and fabulous speakers. Speaking of speakers, we have lined up some outstanding ones for the remainder of the year.
The August 19th meeting will be installation of Officers for the 2002-2003 year as follows:

Commander...Bill Stramler
1st Vice Commander...Gene Volcik
2nd Vice Commander...Joe Trochta
Adjutant...Charles Matheson Sr
Finance Officer...Will Ivie
Service Officer...Guy Davis
Judge Advocate...Joe Cook
Historian...Alan Denman
Chaplain...Larry Miller

Directors
Walter Schlueter
Will Brown
Jim Burill

The Installing Officer will be Donna Swope, 10th District Commander

ENTREE for the dinner will be BBQ Brisket,Chicken & Sausage. Members should bring appropriate side dishes.

Planning Schedule

Executive and Business Meeting...1st Monday...Sept 2nd, October 7th, November 4th

Dinner Meeting...3rd Monday...August 19th, September 16th, October 21st

NAME THAT COUNTRY

.709,000 regular (active duty) service personnel;
293,000 reserve troops;
Eight standing Army divisons.

.20 Air Force and Navy air wings with 2,000 combat aircraft and 232 strategic bombers.

.13 ballistic missile submarines with 3,114 nuclear warheads on 232 missiles.
500 ICBMs with 1,950 warheads.

.4 aircraft carriers, 121 surface combat ships and submarines, plus all the support bases, shipyards and logistical assets needed to sustain such a naval force.

NAME THAT COUNTRY?? Is it Russia? No! Red China? No! Great Britain? Guess again. USA? Hardly my friend. Don't feel too bad if you are unable to identify this global superpower because this country no longer exists on the planet. It has vanished!
These are the American military forces that have vanished since 1992.
I wonder if the 354,000 civilian jobs, at the 1 to 2 ratio of civilians to military, vanished also? Or did this create that ratio? Think about it!

Bell-Ringing to begin 'Patriot Day" Sept 11 Commemoration

Houses of worship will join American Legion Posts and citizens throughout the country in commemorating Patriot Day on Sept 11,2002, by bell ringing followed by a minute of silence during the times of each of the four seperate terrorist attacks on America last Sept 11.
The bells will ring at approximately 8:45am,9:03 am, 9:43 am, and 10 am. Each ring commemorates the crash of American Airlines Flight 11 into the north tower of the World Trade Center, United Airlaines Flight 175 into the south tower of the World Trade Center, American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed into a field about 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.
Each time a bell rings on this day, a chord will strike in our hearts as we remember the sadness of the attacks, and thank God for allowing us to remain a strong nation through all of this. It will honor the victims of the attack, emergency service and American military service personnel who have died in the battle against terrorism. We must also remember those who continue to give of themselves daily while fighting for our freedom.
"We Will Remember" is the theme of the American Legion National September 11 "Patriot Day" Commemoration.
Congress passed Public Law No: 107-89 on Dec 18,2001 designationg Sept 11 "Patriot Day"

POST EVERLASTING

It is with deep regret and sympathy that we report the death of Comrade C.Loman Wheeler. Comrade Wheeler was a faithful and loyal member of Travis Post 76 and will be sorely missed. Comrade Wheeler was a Past Commander of our Post and served for many years as Adjutant. Our condolences to his wife, Auxiliary President Merle Wheeler and the family.

September 2002

Commanders Comments

by Bill Stramler

This week is the anniversary of thr "9-11" disaster. As I think of this date, it reminds me of the start of World War II. America was still in the last stages of the depression when the war started. We Americans quit fighting among ourselves and pulled together as a team.
My heart goes out to the survivors of "9-11", Korea and Vietnam. How many of you have visited a hospital where veterans are unable to take care of themselves? I frequently get a letter from the Veterans Administration to support our veterans. Naturally, I send whatever I can afford.
We will have a little memorial service at our dinner meeting next Monday night. We will also have as our guests those high school students that attended Boys State and Girls State. These young men and women are going to be the future of America, so we can be a little influence on them. along with the parents, I hope that we will have a good turnout for these young folks.
Come on out and enjoy the food and fellowship.

Planning Schedule

Executive and Business Meeting...1st Monday,7:00 p.m....October 7th, November 4th, December 2nd

Dinner Meeting...3rd Monday,7:00 p.m....September 16th, October 21st, November 18th

For September 16th our Program will be a Patriot Day Salute and Reflections of the Boys and Girls State Attendees. The entree will be Fried Chicken.

Program of the Boys and Girls State Dinner

Welcome by Bill Stramler, Post Commander
Invocation by Larry Miller, Post Chaplain-
The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed,...it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so large that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches...Matthew 13:31

Pledge of Allegiance led by Paul Barker, Boys State Chair and Joe Trochta, Boys State Committee:When you next pledge allegiance to the American flag, reflect on its meaning. Remember that we are privileged to live in freedom.Your obligation is to preserve and protect the flag for future generations to enjoy as well. Ask yourself, "To what other flag would I pledge my allegiance?"
Introduction of Boys State Committee
The Boys State Program
The Daily Routine
Introduction of Boys Staters
Introduction of Girls Staters
The Girls State Pledge
"I will obey the rules of Bluebonnet Girls State;
I will take a serious and conscientious interest in discharging my duties as a Citizen of Girls State;
If elected to office, I will serve to the best of my ability;
I will respect the judgement of my superiors;
I will make a formal report (written or oral) to my sponsor, or contributing organization, of my impression of Girls State upon my return home;
I will take an active part each day in the affairs of the party, city and county to which I am assigned;
I will be fair and honest in all my dealings with my fellow citizens.
I will remain at Bluebonnet Girls State for the complete program."

The purpose of American Legion Auxillary Bluebonnet Girls State is to educate our young women in the duties, privileges, rights and responsibilities of American citizenship. Its purpose is to awaken within the youth of our nation a sincere conviction that a well-informed, intelligent, participating citizenry is most vitally needed to protect and preserve our American institutions and our American democracy. It is a mythical 51st State where, for a period, the citizens Girls State organize their own city, county, and state governments. They choose their own officials in accordance with regular elections procedures. They learn the duties of the various city, county and state offices. They introduce and debate their own bills in a legislature. Justice is administered by their own law enforcement agencies and courts. In Girls State, the young citizens "learn by doing".
Every hour of the day is carefully planned so that each girl will have a definite and integral part in the function of Girls State and the opportunity of learning for herself that her government is what she makes it. A visit to the State Capitol will be included in the program whcih offers the girls an opportunity to assemble in the halls of our legislative bodies and meet state officials.
The entire program is non-partisan and free from propaganda. The political parties are purely mythical for the sole purpose of enabling the girls to set up their own city, county and state governments,using the existing constitution and laws as guides. The citizens are divided into two political parties, the "National" and "Federal".

Benediction by Larry Miller, Post Chaplain

Close by Bill Stramler, Commander

The Boys State delegates came from the High Schools of Anderson, Austin, Hyde Park, Lake Travis, Hill Country Christian, Lago Vista, Lanier, McCallum, Westlake, Westwood and the Girls State delegates came from Austin High School.

For our program on October 21st the speaker will be Rabbi Yehoshua Sauer of the Austin Jewish Heritage Center and the entree will be chicken tenders.

The best way to enjoy our program is by a personal appearance. We do want you to be in attendance, so make your plans now. Be sure to bring a dish to share.

Legion Battles for Pledge
INDIANAPOLIS (July 30, 2002) - Today, the nation's largest veterans organization filed a motion with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to overturn its decision that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional.
The American Legion has petitioned to file an Amicus Curiae (friend of court) brief August 19th, joining 50 state and territorial attorneys-general and the United States Senate, among others. "If the 9th Circuit's ruling is allowed to stand, millions of American schoolchildren will be denied the right to recite the Pledge," said Richard J. "Ric" Santos, national commander. "The denial will exist simply because the phrase 'one nation under God' offends one atheist and two judges." The 2.8 million-member American Legion was instrumental in adding the phrase "under God" to the Pledge.
"If the judges had read the Declaration of Independence, this outrage would never have occurred," Santos said. "With its references to 'God,' the 'Creator' and 'divine Providence,' it is clear that our founding fathers did not intend for America to be an atheistic nation. More importantly, the 9th Circuit's decision contradicts the words uttered during the opening of each Supreme Court session: 'God save the United States and this honorable Court.'
"As national commander of The American Legion, I promise that our organization will stand with the American people all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, to correct this grave injustice."

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 29, 2002) - A U.S. Air Force Vietnam era veteran from Pittsburgh today was elected national commander of the 2.8-million member American Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization.
Delegates to The American Legion 84th National Convention here chose Ronald F. Conley to lead the national organization for a one-year term. A career union member of Steamfitters Local #449, Conley served on active duty in the Air Force from 1963 - 1966 as an air policeman at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Anderson Air Force Base and the Strategic Air Command.
Prior to becoming the Legion's top officer, Conley held numerous leadership positions at the organization's post, state and national levels. He also served on advisory boards to the late Sen. John Heinz; Sen. Rick Santorum; and former Congressman Doug Walgren. He was an Allegheny County Commissioner for eight years.
In 1988 Conley founded and still serves as president of The American Legion for Homeless Veterans Corp., Inc., which operates eight veterans homes in Pennsylvania. He was appointed by Gov. Thornburgh and Gov. Casey to the Vietnam Veterans Herbicide Commission.
Conley will testify Sept. 10 before a joint session of House and Senate veterans-affairs committees in Washington DC. He will focus on funding and improving health care and benefits for America's veterans.
He and his wife of 39 years, Barbara Lou Dilgen, have five children and ten grandchildren.
Conley took the oath of office along with five other newly elected national officers. Serving as Conley's regional vice commanders will be Jefferson P. Luginbuel, Jr. of Colo; Roy L. Kirkham of La.; Robert M. Johnson of Md.; Donavon R. Mason of S.D.; and Robert G. Bournival of N. H.. Other officers appointed by Commander Conley are: National Historian Donald F. Simons of Texas; National Sergeant at Arms Michael D. Murphy, III of Pa; and National Chaplain Norris A. Keirn of Ind.

Editors Note:These two articles are currently appearing on the National American Legion web-site at www.legion.org.

Post Everlasting

Clara Hohertz, a long-time resident of Austin and member of American Legion Post 76 passed away on August 19,2002
Clara was an active member of the Post and served as Chaplain, Historian, Ist Vice-President and various District and Department levels.
She was known as a dedicated American to both God and Country. She will be missed by all.
Our condolences to the family and friends.

October 2002

Commanders Comments

by Bill Stramler

For those of you who missed our business meeting on October 7th, here is a recap:

  1. Our new out-building behind the boxcar has been completed. We will schedule moving out of the old out-building and storeroom later this month. Also, as soon as the old out-building is empty, there is a contract to demolish it.
  2. We also have a new caretaker for the post; his name is Dallas Calhoun.
  3. Joe Trochta has contracted the City of Austin Historical Commission for a grant to fix the wall, leaks and drainage behind our post.
  4. We are going to get the little train again for the Veterans Day Parade. We will have breakfast for all members at the post.

VERY IMPORTANT


The District meeting is October 19th at the post in Burton. If you plan to attend, give Charles Matheson Sr. a call so he can put your name on the list.

Planning Schedule

Executive and Business Meeting...1st Monday,7:00 p.m....November 4th, December 2nd, January 6th

Dinner Meeting...3rd Monday,7:00 p.m....October 21st, November 18th, December 16th

October 21st the speaker will be Jim Kennedy of the Bat Conservation International Inc. He will speak on "Introduction to the World of Bats and our Locals".
The Entree will be Chicken Tenders.

November 18th the speaker will be Major Bruce Terrell who wil talk about The National Guard and Homeland Security.
The Entree for the meal will be Turkey and Dressing.

December 16th will be our Christmas Party. We will have Storytelling-Your favorite or Unusual Military Experience and also singing of Christmas Carols.
The Entree will be Christmas Party Platters.

Actually being a participant in any activity makes your life mor complete so we are inviting you to come and enjoy our company because we are really a nice group. Come and bring a dish of food and let's "potluck" together.

Editors Note:The following information is copied from the American Legion web page www.legion.org.

Our Flag
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can a flag that has been used to cover a casket be displayed after its original use?
A: There are no provisions in the Flag Code to suggest otherwise. It would be a fitting tribute to the memory of the deceased veteran and their service to a grateful nation if their casket flag were displayed.

Q: Can the United States flag be displayed on days when the weather is inclement?
A: The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all weather (nylon or other non-absorbent material) flag is displayed. However, most all flags are made of all weather materials. (Ref Flag Code 6(c))

Q: What is the significance of displaying the flag at half-staff?
A: This gesture is a sign to indicate the nation mourns the death of an individual(s), such as death of the President or former President, Vice President, Supreme Court Justice, member of Congress, Secretary of an executive or military department, etc. Only the President of the United States or the Governor of the State may order the flag to be half-staffed. The honor and reverence accorded this solemn act is quickly becoming eroded by those individuals and agencies that display the flag at half-staff on inappropriate occasions without proper authority to do so. (ref: Flag Code 7(m))

Q: When the flag is not flown from a staff, how should it be displayed?
A: It should be displayed vertically, whether indoors or out, and suspended so that its folds fall free as though the flag were staffed. The stripes may be displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag's own right; that is, to the observer's left. When displayed in a window of a home or a place of business, the flag should be displayed in the same way; that is, with the union or blue field to the left of the observer in the street. (Ref Flag Code 7(i))

Q: How are unserviceable flags destroyed?
A: The Flag Code suggests that, "when a flag has served its useful purpose, it should be destroyed, preferably by burning." For individual citizens, this should be done discreetly so the act of destruction is not perceived as a protest or desecration. Many American Legion Posts conduct Disposal of Unserviceable Flag Ceremonies on June 14, Flag Day. This ceremony creates a particularly dignified and solemn occasion for the retirement of unserviceable flags. (ref: Flag Code 8(k))

Q: Can the flag be washed or dry-cleaned?
A: Yes. There are no provisions of the Flag Code which prohibit such care. The decision to wash or dry-clean would be dependent on the material.

Q: Are you required to destroy the flag if it touches the ground?
A: Flag Code section 176b states that the flag should not touch anything beneath it such as the ground. This is stated to indicate that care should be exercised in the handling of the flag, to protect it from becoming soiled or damaged. You ARE NOT required to destroy the flag when this happens. As long as the flag remains suitable for display, even if washing or dry-cleaning (which is acceptable practice) is required, you may continue to display the flag as a symbol of our great country. (ref: Flag Code 8(b))

Q: What is the proper method for folding the flag?
A: The Flag Code does not require any specific method, however, there is a tradition that has developed over time. This method produces a triangular shaped form like that of a three corner hat with only the blue union showing. There is a diagram available on Folding the Flag that lists the steps involved.

Q: May a person, other than a veteran, have their casket draped with the flag of the United States?
A: Yes, although this honor is usually reserved for veterans or highly regarded state and national figures, the Flag Code does not prohibit this use.

Q: What is the significance of the gold fringe which we see on some American flags?
A: Records indicate that fringe was first used on the flag as early as 1835. It was not until 1895 it was officially added to the National flag for all regiments of the Army. For civilian use, fringe is not required as an integral part of the flag, nor can its use be said to constitute an unauthorized addition to the design prescribed by statute. It is considered that fringe is used as an honorable enrichment only.

Q: What is meant by the flag's own right?
A: The "right" as the position of honor developed from the time when the "right hand" was the "weapon hand" or "point of danger." The right hand, raised without a weapon, was a sign of peace. The right hand, to any observer, is the observer's left. Therefore, as used in the Flag Code, the flag and/or blue field is displayed to the left of the observer, which is the flag's "own right." (ref: Flag Code 7(d),(i)

Q: Is it proper to fly the flag of the United States at night?
A: The Flag Code states it is the universal custom to display the flag only from sunrise to sunset on buildings and on stationary flag staffs in the open. However, when a patriotic effect is desired, the flag may be displayed twenty-four hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. (ref: Flag Code 6(a)) The American Legion interprets "proper illumination" as a light specifically placed to illuminate the flag (preferred) or having a light source sufficient to illuminate the flag so it is recognizable as such by the casual observer.

Q: What should be the position of the flag when displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium or other public meeting place, whether indoors or outdoors, on platform, or on the floor at ground level?
A: When used on a speaker's platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church, public auditorium or meeting place, the flag should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman's or speaker's right as he faces the audience. Prior to the Flag Code changes in 1976, the display procedure was somewhat different. Now the staffed flag should always be placed to the right of the speaker (observer's left) without regard to a platform or floor level. (ref: Flag Code 7 (k))

Q: What are the penalties for the physical desecration of the flag?
A: There are currently no penalties for the physical desecration of the flag. The American Legion and other members of the Citizens Flag Alliance continue working towards securing a Constitutional amendment to protect the flag from physical desecration.

Copyright 2002 by The American Legion - All Rights Reserved Web Privacy Statement

November 2002

Commanders Comments

by Bill Stramler

As I sit here writing a paragraph ot two about the election and what is happening at our post, I hope the candidates in the election that you voted for got elected to office.
As our Post has dues paid members of 275, I ask where they are and why we can't get them to attend our meetings.
Maybe some of us are doing something wrong! Am I guilty or is it possibly the way we have handled things in the past. We have good officers and they are doing their job.
We have received the grant from the city to do repairs and fix the leaks in the back wall. Our business meeting was almost flooded out except that Joe Trochta and our new wet/dry vacuum came to the rescue and prevented that from happening.
In the future we are looking at trimming our trees, dismantling the old outbuilding and fixing the wall that was run over by runners.
All that I ask is that if you have not attended a post meeting in a while, write it on your calendar. Our business meetings are on the first Monday and the dinner meeting is on the 3rd Monday.

Planning Schedule

Executive and Business Meeting...1st Monday,7:00 p.m....December 2nd, January 6th,February 3rd

Dinner Meeting...3rd Monday,7:00 p.m....November 18th, December 16th,January 20th

On November 18th the speaker will be Major Bruce Terrell who will speak on the National Guard and Homeland Security. The entree will be turkey and dressing.
On December 16th we will have our Christmas party. Come and share your favorite or unusaul military Christmas experience and also sing Christmas carols. The entree will be Christmas Party Trays.

Our attendance at our October meeting was down, so let's increase it at our November meeting. The presentation was very interesting. We will continue to have interesting speakers and I think you would enjoy each program.
Our membership has increased so there is no reason that we can't increase the dinner meeting attendance. Do your part and be there!

OUR FLAG

History of the Pledge of Allegiance

The original Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy. It was first given wide publicity through the offical program of the National PublicSchools Celebration of Colubus Day which was printed in The Youth's Companion of September 8, 1892, and at the same time sent out in leaflet form to school throughout the country. School children first recited the Pledge of Allegiance this way:

I pledge allegiance to my flag and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

"The flag of the United States" replaced the words "my flag" in 1923 because some foreign-born people might have in mind the flag of the country of their birth instead of the United States flag. A year later, "of America" was added after "United States". No form of the Pledge received official recognition by Congress until June 22,1942, when the Pledge was formally included in the U.S. Flag Code.
The official name of the Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The last change in language came on Flag Day 1954, when Congress passed a law, which added the words "under God" after "one nation".
Originally, the pledge was said with the right hand in the so-called "Bellamy Salute", with the right hand resting first outward from the chest, then the arm extending outward from the body. Once Hitler came to power in Europe, some Americans were concerned that this position of the arm and hand resembled the Nazi or Facist salute. In 1942 Congress also established the current practice of rendering the pledge with the right hand over the heart.
The Flag Code specifies that any future changes to the pledge would have to be with the consent of the President.

FUNERAL HONORS CEREMONY


Honoring Those Who Serve
The Amercian Legion assisting as an "Authorized Provider"

In the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2000, the United States Congress legislated that, upon request of the next of kin, all eligible veterans MUST receive Military Funeral Honors when they pass away.
The legislation also encourages veterans service organizations, and others, to augment the honors detail as an authorized provider with pallbearers, firing party, bugler and color guard.
The American Legion has performed thousands of burial ceremonies annually for the families of veterans throughout their history; this will not change.
Whenever The American Legion is assisting the United States Government they should conform to the DOD's methods of conduct. In working together, we honor, in the highest traditions of American military service, those who have gone before. In doing so, all the requirements for a reverent, respectful, and dignified ceremony are met.
By law, the Military Funeral Honors detail will consist of at least two uniformed members of the military, with the detail leader from the parent service of the deceased. When requested by the next of kin, the ceremonial paying of respect and gratitude to those who have faithfully defended our Nation MUST include:The sounding of "Taps" and ceremonial folding and presentation of the American flag.
The previous two articles are available on the American Legion website at www.legion.org,as are many articles of benefit to Legionnaires. Check it out!

December 2002

Commanders Comments

by Bill Stramler

I just received a booklet from National Headquarters concerning the health care of veterans. Since we are in the midst of a crisis where the Department of Veterans Affairs health care system is failing to meet the needs of veterans nationwide. Hundreds of thousands of sick or disabled veterans are waiting for initial primary-care appointments with the V. Among them are thousands whose medical conditions are directly related to their military service. Congress and the VA acknowledge the number but they fail to acknowledge the people.
The American Legion is responding to this crisis with a bold new initiative,the "I Am Not A Number" veteran waiting for health care. If you know of some veteran that is having problems getting the care that they deserve,we are asking that we as Legionaires survey and gather testimonials from the affected veterans. We need the first-hand stories of frustration. You can get forms by calling the "I Am Not A Number" hotline toll-free at 1-800-539-2509. We need to show Congress and the Veterans Administration that this is not about statistics. Our National Commander wants these surveys and testimonials so he can deliver them to lawmakers on Capitol Hill during the Washington conference in March.
As the year comes to a close, I wish to thank our members for their support; even though we are a small group of dedicated people, we seem in some way to get matters of the Post done. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Thanks again,
Bill Stramler
Commander

Planning Schedule

Executive and Business Meeting...1st Monday,7:00 p.m...., January 6th,February 3rd,March 3rd

Dinner Meeting...3rd Monday,7:00 p.m....December 16th,January 20th,February 17th

On December 16th we will have our Christmas Party. The theme will be Storytelling-Bring your favorite or Unusual Military(Christmas) Experience. We will sing Christmas Carols and the Entree will be Christmas Party Trays. Bring finger food or desserts.Join us because we always have fun.

On January 20th our speaker will be Texas Veterans Land Board Deputy Commisioner Douglas Oldmixon who will speak on "Veterans Loans, Rest Homes and Cemetaries. The entree will be Chicken Fried Steak.

Our attendance at our November meeting was up;so let's continue this trend. Willie Kocurek was so gracious to be our speaker. Thank You Willie. Let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas-the birthday of Jesus.

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