American Legion Daily News Clips 11/12/19

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Tuesday, November 12, 2019 which is Chicken Soup For the Soul Day, National Young Readers Day, National Pizza With the Workers Except Anchovies Day and Happy Hour Day.

Today/This Past Weekend in Legion History:

· Nov. 8, 2002: The American Legion launches the “I Am Not a Number” campaign to collect testimonies from veterans waiting long periods of time for VA health-care appointments and benefits decisions. More than 5,000 personal testimonials pour into National Headquarters, and their accounts help launch the national System Worth Saving program.

· Nov. 9, 1926: Originating five years earlier in Pennsylvania posts, the American Legion School Award program becomes national, honoring outstanding eighth-grade boys evaluated on five points: honor, courage, scholarship, leadership and service. The American Legion Auxiliary offers a similar award for girls on the basis of courage, character, service, companionship and scholarship. In its first year, 1,046 medals are awarded throughout the country. By 1943, the number would soar to 13,302.

· Nov. 10-12, 1919: Minneapolis is the site of the first American Legion National Convention. Temperatures dip to 11 degrees above zero, with light snow, during the convention parade, and weather is later blamed for Minneapolis losing its bid to become permanent home of The American Legion National Headquarters. Indianapolis is chosen instead, and Washington, D.C., finishes second in the voting. Despite cold temperatures and flurries, approximately 15,000 march in the first national convention parade, and the David Wisted Post of Duluth, Minn., which by this time has amassed a membership of 2,500, is declared The American Legion’s first official band. Among the veteran delegates attending the first national convention are 140 female members of the newly formed organization. Also marching in the first American Legion National Convention Parade is a Boston bull terrier named “Sgt. Stubby,” a celebrity dog that was smuggled overseas to serve alongside his master and best friend, James Robert Conroy of the Connecticut National Guard, on the western front. By the time of its first national convention, membership in The American Legion exceeds 684,000.

· Nov. 10, 1919: The American Legion Committee on Auxiliaries meets and listens to a report from approximately 12 women of different organizations who express interest in forming an official American Legion Auxiliary. A report from the committee is delivered to the National Convention that “recommends that The American Legion recognizes an Auxiliary Organization, to be governed by the rules and regulations prescribed by the National Executive Committee, to be known as the ‘Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion,’ to which shall be eligible, all mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters of members of The American Legion, and of all men and women who died honorable deaths in the military and naval service of the United States between the declaration and the formal conclusion of the World War.” In the months that follow, American Legion Auxiliary units spring into existence across the map.

· Nov. 10, 1919: Following the decision to name Indianapolis the permanent home of the national organization, American Legion National Adjutant Lemuel Bolles announces that “as soon as practical” The American Legion Weekly Publishing Corp. will “also have headquarters at Indianapolis.” The magazine office, however, remains based in New York until 1976.

· Nov. 10, 1919: The American Legion’s Committee on Military Policy reports that it favors universal military training but “strongly” opposes compulsory military service during peacetime. The committee calls for a “relatively small regular Army and Navy and a citizen Army and Navy capable of rapid expansion sufficient to meet any national emergency.” The report begins by stating: “We have had a bitter experience in the cost of unpreparedness for national defense and the lack of proper training on the part of officers and men … we realize the necessity of an immediate revision of our military and naval system and a thorough house-cleaning of the inefficient officers and methods of our entire military establishment.”

· Nov. 11, 1918: A defeated Germany signs an armistice in a railroad car outside Compiegne, France, ending the Great War that killed nearly 10 million military men and women from around the world, wounded another 21 million and is estimated to have caused the deaths of an additional 5 million civilians. Some 4 million Americans have served during the war, 72 percent of whom were drafted. At the time of the armistice, fallen U.S. military personnel are buried in approximately 2,400 temporary cemeteries throughout Europe.

· Nov. 11, 1919: Four American Legion members marching in an Armistice Day Parade in Centralia, Wash., are shot to death in the streets. Blamed, arrested and convicted are members of the International Workers of the World (the “wobblies”), regarded as Bolshevik-aligned radicals. When one of the suspects is jailed, a mob breaks in, pulls the suspect out, hauls him away and hangs him from a bridge until dead. Eleven others associated with the wobblies serve sentences for their parts in the shooting. The shooting galvanizes the early American Legion at its first national convention in Minneapolis and hardens its position against the IWW, Bolshevism and other threats to democracy. Verna Grimm, widow of one of the Centralia shooting victims, Warren Grimm, in 1923 would accept the position as chief librarian for The American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis, where she would work until her retirement in 1957.

· Nov. 11, 1921: President Warren G. Harding and the Allied generals, flanked by American Legion members, dedicate the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, the culmination of a Legion-supported legislative push by U.S. Rep. Hamilton Fish Jr., a Plattsburgh alum, former captain of “Harlem’s Hellfighters,” the famed all-black 369th Infantry Regiment, and founding member of The American Legion.

· Nov. 11, 1930: Philadelphia celebrates Armistice Day for the first time with a football between an American Legion all-star team and the Quantico Marines. The Philadelphia Council of The American Legion invites some 12,000 high school students to the game, which the Legion team wins on a long pass play in the final seconds. Some 40,000 spectators take in the game at Franklin Field, and proceeds are divided between the Marines to help fund a school at Quantico and The American Legion for county welfare work.

· Nov. 11, 1993: The Vietnam Women’s Memorial, designed by Texas sculptor Glenna Goodacre, is dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The project, spearheaded by American Legion member Diane Carlson Evans, a Vietnam War U.S. Army combat nurse, culminates more than a decade of lobbying, fundraising and overcoming bureaucratic and governmental obstacles. Carlson Evans, buoyed by an October 1985 American Legion national resolution supporting the memorial, had participated in the 1982 dedication ceremony for the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington and came away feeling that the more than 10,000 women who served during the Vietnam War were not adequately represented. In the final hearing after more than 30 to get the project approved, she testifies to the Department of the Interior: “Our wall would be much higher and much wider without the contribution of these brave women.” In 2013, Carlson Evans is selected to serve on The American Legion’s 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee and on Feb. 27, 2018, is presented the organization’s prestigious Patriot Award for her military service, dedication and persistence to honor America’s military women.

· Nov. 11, 2016: American Legion Riders in Freehold Borough, N.J., see a man alongside the road next to his motorcycle, which has a dead battery and won’t restart. They ride up to him and offer to help. The stranded rider is none other than rock and roll hall of famer Bruce Springsteen, who as a high school junior participated in New Jersey’s American Legion Boys State program. “He was just one of the guys, a basic down-to-earth kind of guy,” said Dan Barkalow, a Sons of The American Legion member and Legion Rider attached to Post 54 in Freehold Borough, where Springsteen grew up. Facebook photos about the Veterans Day encounter go viral, reaching millions and getting attention on CNN, Billboard, the Today Show and the Howard Stern Show.


· NYT: Veterans Day: Trump Returns to N.Y. for Parade, to Cheers and Boos

· Chicago Tribune: From young to old, Morton Grovers parade on Veterans Day

· OC Register: Veterans celebrated at Laguna Beach’s Legion Hall, which will receive an honor of its own on Saturday

· Hometown Stations: Lima American Legion celebrates Veterans Day

· New Bill Would Protect Military, Veteran Family Members from Deportation

· Stripes: US, Australian professors to be freed in swap for Taliban leaders, Afghan president says

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NYT: Veterans Day: Trump Returns to N.Y. for Parade, to Cheers and Boos

Supporters wore “Make America Great Again” hats while signs were posted in nearby building windows that read “impeach” and “convict.”

By Michael Gold

· Nov. 11, 2019

President Trump returned to his hometown on Monday to kick off the 100th annual New York City Veterans Day Parade, his second visit to the city since he announced he was making Florida his primary home.

In an 18-minute speech, Mr. Trump expressed his gratitude to American veterans, but also used his remarks to pay tribute to the city, where he remains deeply unpopular.

“Since the earliest days of our nation, New York has exemplified the American spirit and has been at the heart of our nation’s story of daring and defiance,” Mr. Trump said.

Defiance, in particular, was on display throughout Mr. Trump’s speech, at Madison Square Park in Manhattan, just two miles down Fifth Avenue from Trump Tower, which had been Mr. Trump’s primary residence since 1983, until he filed to switch it to Florida in late September.

Even before the president arrived, protesters had gathered along the streets, a number of them from an anti-Trump group, Rise and Resist. They carried signs calling for Mr. Trump’s impeachment and repeatedly shouted, “Shame!”


In the windows of a nearby glass tower overlooking the dais where Mr. Trump spoke, large signs placed in the windows spelled the word “impeach.” A few floors higher, letters spelling “convict” were placed in another set of windows.

As Mr. Trump, who is the first sitting president to take part in the parade, addressed the crowd, he was met with claps and cheers as he listed specific American military victories and recounted stories of individual veterans.

“Today, we come together as one nation to salute the veterans of the United States Armed Forces, the greatest warriors to ever walk the face of the Earth,” Mr. Trump said.

Some of his supporters gathered nearby, many of them wearing hats bearing Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

But raucous boos and chants jeering Mr. Trump could also be heard throughout the president’s remarks. A chorus of people shouted “lock him up!” and “traitor” and blew whistles as he spoke, causing some veterans to complain that the din was drowning out the president’s speech.

“Vote him out if you don’t like him,” said Dennis Currier, 72, a Bronx resident who served in combat in the Vietnam War. “But don’t come here and be disrespectful on Veterans Day. They have a right to demonstrate, but there’s a time and a place for that.”

The only time the protesters fell silent was during a moment of silence and a wreath-laying ceremony honoring fallen soldiers.

Elliot Crown, 47, came to Mr. Trump’s speech wearing army fatigues, a clown nose and a farcical oversized mustache. He and a friend carried a sign reading “Operation Bone Spur,” a reference to a diagnosis that allowed Mr. Trump to avoid serving in the Vietnam War.

“He’s always pretending to be something he’s not,” Mr. Crown said. “And he certainly isn’t a supporter of veterans.”

Mr. Trump helped boost the parade in 1995 when it was struggling to attract donations, writing a check for over $300,000. In return, he asked to be made the grand marshal, an honor he was not bestowed because he never served in the military.

Still, being honored by the parade had remained a goal of Mr. Trump’s. So when the opportunity arrived this year to take part, he was pleased.

Mr. Trump has generally received more support from veterans than from the public at large. According to a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of veterans said they approved of the way Mr. Trump was leading the military, compared with 41 percent of adults overall.

Last year, an Associated Press poll found that 56 percent of veterans said they approved of the job Mr. Trump was doing as president, compared with 42 percent of the general public.

Still, Mr. Trump has been criticized by some veterans groups over incidents where he was perceived as being disrespectful to those who had served.

During the campaign and his presidency, he frequently attacked Senator John McCain, saying the former Navy pilot was “not a war hero” and criticizing the senator, who died in 2018, for his record on military and veterans’ issues.

Mr. Trump also drew condemnations after he disparaged the parents of a slain Muslim soldier who had strongly denounced Mr. Trump during the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Mr. Trump’s rise to the ranks of the rich and famous has been inextricably linked to New York City, and he has spoken often of his affectionate for it. He was born in Queens and built his real estate empire in Manhattan, quickly becoming a fixture in the city’s tabloid papers and sprinkling his name on buildings across the region.

As Mr. Trump began his presidential campaign, he used the city as his backdrop, starting his eventual journey to the White House in the lobby of Trump Tower.

But three years into his presidency, Mr. Trump’s relationship with the city has become bitter and contentious. His name was removed from residential high-rises and a hotel in SoHo after numerous complaints, and the Central Park skating rinks that his company runs diminished the presence of his name on signs.

The president is also locked in a legal battle with Manhattan’s district attorney over a subpoena for his personal and business tax records. And last week New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, announced a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit that accused the president of using money raised by his charitable foundation to promote his presidential campaign and pay business debts.

That investigation grew out of claims that a fund-raiser for veterans in January 2016 was in fact, Mr. Trump later acknowledged in court papers, a campaign event.

The president’s visits to New York have often been met with protests. Earlier this month, Mr. Trump swung by an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden, where he was also met by both boos and cheers.

In late September, Mr. Trump filed court documents saying that he was becoming a resident of Florida and that the Mar-a-Lago Club was his primary dwelling. On Twitter, he said that while he cherished New York, the city with which he had become closely associated during his rise to fame, he had been “treated very badly” by officials there.

“Few have been treated worse,” he said. “I hated having to make this decision, but in the end it will be the best for all concerned.”

Demonstrators said they were specifically targeting Mr. Trump’s speech and had no plans to protest the annual parade, in which more than 20,000 people were expected to participate.

“We’re not protesting the vets, we’re protesting Trump,” said Jamie Bauer, 60, who was part of Rise and Resist. “We respect the vets, and there are several veterans in our group.”

Chicago Tribune: From young to old, Morton Grovers parade on Veterans Day


NOV 11, 2019 | 4:55 PM

Morton Grove honored Veterans Day with its traditional parade, which showcased a mix of children to senior citizens and ages in between. Their collective goal was constant: to salute those who served – and in some cases – died for their country.

Morton Grove American Legion Post 134, one of the largest in the area, hosted the parade Sunday. With pageantry, the marchers started at the village’s Civic Center, winding their way over a series of village streets before reaching the Morton Grove Library for a relatively brief ceremony.

Chicago’s Young Marines hoisted flags at the front of the procession and about 150 marchers, including members of the local Legion, followed. Some of the village’s police cars and firetrucks brought up the rear.

When they reached the library, the importance of the observance was reinforced by some speakers including Village Trustee Bill Grear.

“When we think of Veteran’s Day, we should always think of how wonderful it is to have a free country, free speech that allows us to walk the streets of Georgiana and Lincoln Avenues,” Grear said.

Preceding Grear at the lectern was Nora Gunning, in her first year as the commander of American Legion Post 134.

“Brotherhood, sisterhood, work ethos and esprit de corps are the words we can describe what it means to be a veteran and to have served in our nation’s military,” Gunning told those in attendance.

Gunning, who mentioned that she served three years in the Air Force and 10 years in the Army, encouraged attendees to get anecdotes from the veterans.

“These stories and memories of ours are powerful,” Gunning noted. “They are one of the most powerful weapons in securing a future for those that will follow us.”

Earlier this year the American Legion celebrated its centennial anniversary. Gunning stated the organization continues to provide services to veterans long after their military days have concluded.

“It is a commitment that covers all races, all genders and all faiths,” she reminded the crowd. “The American Legion knows the commitment does not stop when the uniform comes off.”

Among the veterans assembled at the library was Skokie resident Ron Sheirok, who served in the Army from 1964 to 1967. His battery-operated bugle malfunctioned when he tried to play Taps. But that did not dampen his appreciation of the crowd, which braved cold, blustery conditions to observe the service.

“I’m glad that people honor us this way and honor the fellow veterans who have not returned home,” Sheirok said.

A number of children represented local scout troops in the parade.

Keith Heger, a Cubmaster, had about 10 Scouts of his local pack and thought of the day as an educational opportunity.

“To learn to say thank you and to learn there are a lot of people doing their best and their small part of service, is reflected in our veterans,” Heger said.

As the group walked through the village’s streets, some residents stood on the sidewalks acknowledging the parade. That included Mary O’ Connor, a 31-year resident of Morton Grove. She said her father was a Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient who fought in the Battle of the Bulge near the end of World War II.

“It’s important because our veterans need to be supported and honored. We are always out here because it is an important part of being a community member of Morton Grove,” O’ Connor said. “We need to support our veterans because they are the reason why we are here.”

OC Register: Veterans celebrated at Laguna Beach’s Legion Hall, which will receive an honor of its own on Saturday

Dozens gathered for a Veterans Day event at Laguna Beach’s historic Legion Hall, the home of American Legion Post 222, to celebrate all veterans — those living and those who have died.

The event included veterans from around South Orange County, community groups that support veterans, and guest speakers Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, and Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. The ceremony was held on the grass in front of Legion Hall, which is on Laguna’s Historic Registry and on Saturday will be declared a historic site by Daughters of the American Revolution.

“We are here today to offer thanks and to pay our respects to our veterans for their service and their sacrifices,” Whalen said. “It is safe to say that the country and the world we enjoy today would not be the same without the courage, dedication, sacrifice and bravery of the millions of American men and women who have served their country.”

Whalen referenced the last 100 years of military service and the role service members have played in protecting U.S. citizens and millions around the world from violence, repression and torture.

“As a country, we have not always agreed with how our military has been deployed or how long it should pursue a war,” he said. “But we must all agree that those who stepped up to serve always deserve our thanks and respect.”

Whalen’s words were especially meaningful to Marine veteran Eve Loftsgaard, of Dana Point, who served as a corporal and passenger transport clerk during the Vietnam War at the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

“That was a pretty important job,” Loftsgaard, 69, said. “I was the first American girl they saw when they got off the planes. I’d give them their ground ticket to get as close to their front door as they could. One walked in and said to me, ‘I love you.’ The others all said, ‘Thank you, ma’am.’”

Despite the role she played, Loftsgaard said, she was embarrassed to admit she had served during Vietnam and rarely spoke of it until more recently.

“The mayor said the reason for war can be anything but people stood up for their country and they still need to be honored and respected,” she said. “To have people recognize the value is huge. People who served in Vietnam are some of the most gracious people we have.”

Loftsgaard and her husband, Richard Moore, who served at the Air Force Global Weather Central in Omaha, Neb., were named this year’s honored patriots.

It was Moore’s job as a captain to do weather forecasting during his time of service, from 1969 to 1971.

“I hope people who came here today recognize the importance of supporting veterans because our country’s conflicts will not go away and we will need a strong military,” Moore said. “It’s important to honor those who are alive and dead.”

Moore, who emceed the event, gave a brief history of how Veterans Day began, “in the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.”

Darlene Bigos, of Laguna Woods Village, was at the event as a representative of the Patience Wright Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

On Saturday, Nov. 16, Bigos will present a plaque to Post 222, founded in 1919, that will recognize Legion Hall as a historic site. Legion Hall, a former Laguna Beach schoolhouse, in 1929 was rolled down the hill to its present location in the 300 block of Legion Street by World War I veterans balancing the structure on telephone poles.

Getting the recognition from Daughters of the American Revolution wasn’t easy.

“Just like we have to show our ancestors were revolutionary patriots,” Bigos said. “The packet we submitted for this historic site was at least six inches thick and quite extensive.”

Hometown Stations: Lima American Legion celebrates Veterans Day

The Lima post of the American Legion honored those who served with their annual Veterans Day ceremony.

At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, different veteran organizations gathered together at the American Legion to join other posts across the nation to honor the men and women who fought for our country. Wreaths were placed by the different organizations before the VFW Firing Squad performed the Volley of Three Rifle Shots and Taps was played. Both speaker Congressman Jim Jordan and those with the American Legion stress that thanking veterans for their service should extend farther than just on Veterans Day.

"We try to get more and more people to understand what the veterans did for them, and so we try to do this ceremony for them to understand what we’re doing it for the fallen and those are still active," said Past Lima American Legion Commander Robert Moreland.

"Those objectives and values that make us the greatest country ever were fought for and defended by the American veterans," said Jordan. "The ability to practice your faith the way you want, the right to set goals and dreams, and for you and your family to be able to chase those goals and dreams down, and the freedom that is fundamental to being able to accomplish things of meaning and significance – those are the values that count."

Those with the Lima American Legion also encourage younger veterans to consider joining them at Post 96. New Bill Would Protect Military, Veteran Family Members from Deportation

8 Nov 2019 | By Gina Harkins

A retired Army officer in the Senate introduced a bill this week that would protect a policy allowing family members of service members and veterans to remain in the U.S. temporarily without threat of deportation.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, wants to safeguard these family members with the Military Family Parole in Place Act. The program allows some parents, children and spouses of active-duty troops, reservists and veterans to temporarily remain in the U.S., but Trump administration officials are considering scaling it back.

The program gives troops’ and veterans’ family members who came to the U.S. illegally the chance to adjust their immigration status without leaving the country. Officials at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began reviewing the program this summer, when some family members began hearing the program was being terminated.

Duckworth called the possibility of ending the deportation protections "cruel and inhumane."

Related: ICE Is Deporting Veterans Without Checking Their Service Status, Watchdog Says

"Our troops serving overseas should be focused on doing their jobs, not worrying about whether their family members will be deported," she said in a statement. "[This is] a direct threat to our military readiness."

Under her proposed legislation, the Department of Homeland Security would still have the authority to deny parole to family members of troops and veterans. But it would require the Defense and Veterans Affairs secretaries to sign off on the deportation plan.

Duckworth’s Military Family Parole in Place Act would also require officials to publicly disclose the decisions.

"The agencies would then be required to publicly post online all such denials, including a detailed justification for each denial (excluding personally identifiable information)," a release about the bill states.

The Parole in Place program was stood up during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was meant to prevent troops from worrying that their family members could be deported while they were deployed.

Military Times reported last year that the Trump administration denied about twice as many requests for deportation protection from veterans and their dependents as the Obama administration did.

In 2016, the Obama administration denied 140 of 1,304 requests, the outlet reported. In 2017, the Trump administration denied 250 of 1,449 requests, according to Military Times.

Duckworth’s bill has been co-sponsored by nine other Democratic senators: Ed Markey of Massachusetts; Catherine Cortez-Masto of Nevada; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota; Robert Menendez of New Jersey; Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut; Chris Coons of Delaware; Dick Durbin of Illinois; Tim Kaine of Virginia; and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Stripes: US, Australian professors to be freed in swap for Taliban leaders, Afghan president says

By J.P. LAWRENCE | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 12, 2019

KABUL, Afghanistan — Two university professors who were kidnapped in Kabul three years ago — one from the U.S. and the other from Australia — are set to be freed in exchange for high-ranking Taliban leaders, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said Tuesday.

The three Taliban, who are being held in a prison near Bagram Airfield, will be released if the militant group frees Kevin King, of the U.S., and Timothy Weeks, of Australia, Ghani said in a live television broadcast. King and Weeks were abducted from the American University of Afghanistan in 2016.

The Taliban leaders who Ghani said would be freed in the prisoner exchange are Anas Haqqani, the younger brother of the head of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist group; Hafiz Rashid, a military strategist whose brother is a member of the Taliban’s political committee in Qatar; and Haji Mali Khan, said to be the uncle of the Haqqani network’s leader.

The three Taliban leaders will be “sent to Qatar under U.S. supervision,” Radio Free Europe – Afghanistan cited an unnamed Afghan official as saying.

No date has been set for the prisoner swap. Ghani said the exchange is “a humanitarian gesture,” due to the deteriorating health of the two academics. King, in his early 60s, has been “seriously ill” and the Taliban are worried he could die in their custody, Agence France-Presse cited an unnamed Taliban source as saying Tuesday. King has had heart and kidney problems since at least 2017, Taliban videos and statements released that year showed.

The American University of Afghanistan welcomed news of “the possible release” of King and Weeks in a statement posted on its website.

“While AUAF is not part of these discussions, we continue to urge the immediate and safe return of our faculty members who have been held in captivity, away from their friends and families, for more than three years,” the statement said.

The prisoner exchange could pave the way for “direct and face-to-face peace talks with the Taliban,” Ghani said.

The militant group has long refused to include the government in Kabul in peace negotiations. The U.S. and the Taliban engaged in months of peace talks earlier this year, but President Donald Trump declared the talks dead in September, after a Taliban-claimed attack that killed a U.S. soldier.

Zubair Babakarkhail contributed to this report.



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