American Legion Daily News Clips 4.30.20

Good morning Legionnaires and veterans advocates, today is Thursday, April 30, 2020 and it’s been a slow news week, so apologies for lack of clips.
I’m in the office today and we’re still not sure when it is safe to come back so thought I would give you the first 10 days of May in Legion History:

  • May 1, 1942: The American Legion National Executive Committee passes a resolution, as wartime demand soars, to expand local blood-donation efforts across the country. Thus is born the Legion’s Blood Donor Program, which continues today, rewarding American Legion departments, based in five different membership categories, that give the most blood on an annual basis. The American Legion ultimately becomes the No. 1 donor of blood to the Red Cross throughout the nation.
  • May 1, 1972: The American Legion launches an unprecedented national Halloween safety program and guide for parents.
  • May 2, 1927: The Alaska Legislature adopts as its official territorial flag a design by Benny Benson, a 13-year-old seventh grader from Mission Territorial School near Seward. Benson’s design features the Big Dipper and the North Star against a field of “forget-me-not” blue to win first place in an American Legion-run contest that attracts 142 entries. The Alaska Territorial Legislature offered $1,000 to the boy so that he could take the flag to Washington, D.C., and present it to President Calvin Coolidge, accompanied by Alaska Legionnaires. Unfortunately, Coolidge was not available, so the Legionnaires took the flag with them aboard the SS Leviathan on the 1927 Paris Pilgrimage to Europe, displaying in prominently in the ship’s dining room, and then returned it to the Last Frontier State’s Historical Library and Museum. The territorial flag of Benson’s design became the state flag in 1959.
  • May 4, 1950: American Legion donations help launch the National Association for Mental Health.
  • May 4, 2011: The American Legion National Executive Committee passes a resolution to establish The American Legion Amateur Radio Club in support of the organization’s disaster-preparedness program, in association with the Department of Homeland Security. The ham radio club is authorized a budget of $1,000 to get started.
  • May 5, 2014: Following nationally publicized revelations that veterans died waiting for unscheduled appointments at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger calls for the resignation of VA Secretary Gen. Eric Shinseki, Under Secretary for Health Care Robert Petzel and Under Secretary for Benefits Gen. Allison Hickey.
  • May 5, 2010: The American Legion National Executive Committee selects Shelby, N.C., to be the host city of The American Legion Baseball World Series at least through 2014, potentially becoming a permanent site for the tournament. More than 100 supporters of Shelby traveled to Indianapolis to make their case over Bartlesville, Okla., which was second in the bid to serve as home of the tournament. The water tower in the North Carolina town is soon repainted, “Shelby, Home of The American Legion Baseball World Series.” Keeter Stadium is redesigned, new lights are installed, and in 2012, The American Legion announces through a Fall NEC resolution that the Shelby contract would be extended through 2019.
  • May 6, 1937: After a study of the different department styles of uniform caps, the National Executive Committee approves a resolution specifying that caps be worn by officers on all levels, and the blue cap with gold lettering is the standard for rank-and-file membership.
  • May 6, 1965: The National Executive Committee approves Resolution 46 stating that a Legionnaire is considered to be in uniform whenever wearing a Legion cap.
  • May 8-10, 1919: The American Legion’s constitution is approved at the St. Louis Caucus, conducted inside the Shubert Theater. Before declining nomination to lead the new organization but serving as temporary chairman of the caucus, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., calls the session to order with a gavel made from the steamship Roosevelt’s rudder; the vessel had carried Adm. Robert Edwin Peary during his explorations of the North Pole. Roosevelt, Jr. rejects chants of “We want Teddy!” to serve as first national leader of the organization. Roosevelt, with plans to eventually run for elected office, does not want The American Legion to be politicized in any way. Former Dallas Mayor Henry D. Lindsley is instead named chairman of the St. Louis Caucus, and plans are advanced to elect a commander at the first national convention of the organization. By the end of the St. Louis Caucus, drafts of The American Legion preamble and constitution are approved, temporary officers chosen, a national convention site selected and the name of the organization becomes permanent.

Also, if you haven’t yet listened to the Tangle Alpha Lima podcast, our latest effort featuring me and Legionnaires from Hollywood, CA and Vienna, VA, you can do so here:


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Drive On Podcast: What the American Legion is All About

Featuring VEE Director Joe Sharpe. Audio at link above. As Unemployment Surges, Department of Veterans Affairs Goes on Hiring Spree

27 Apr 2020 | By Richard Sisk
Backed by a record $240 billion budget, the Department of Veterans Affairs has gone on a hiring spree to fill long-vacant spots as it battles coronavirus, pulling from the ranks of the retired and those furloughed or laid off by other health care systems.
From March 29 to April 11, VA hired 3,183 new staff, including 981 registered nurses, a 37.7% increase from the prior two-week period, VA said in an April 24 release.
In the next several weeks, the VA plans to add 4,500 more staff members, department secretary Robert Wilkie said in a statement.
"Many of VA’s new hires come from health care systems that have seen temporary layoffs due to COVID-19," VA officials said in the release.
As the number of coronavirus cases surged, the VA began a national campaign to hire more registered nurses, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologists, housekeepers, supply technicians and other medical medical personnel to work in its 170 hospitals and more than 1,200 clinics nationwide.
The hires boosted the VA’s workforce to a record 390,000, or "nearly 55,000 more than we had five years ago," the VA spokeswoman said.
However, the 390,000 figure for the total VA workforce was only 4,000 above the 386,000 number reported at a hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee in September 2019.
VA Inspector General Michael Missal testified at the hearing that staffing shortages were "a root cause for many of the problems in veterans care."
In his statement to the committee last Sept. 18, Missal said his office had reported on staffing shortages at the VA for the previous four years.
He noted that the Veterans Health Administration had made significant progress on hiring but said it continues to face challenges, including the higher pay offered by private health care systems.
As of Monday, the VA had reported a total of 434 coronavirus deaths of patients in the VA health care system, and a total of 7,001 veterans in VA medical care who had tested positive for the virus.