Since The American Legion launched its Honor & Remembrance web page three months ago, I have read hundreds of stories of bravery, courage and sacrifice on www.legion.org/honor. These stories are not always about war — they are also about humbling acts of kindness and patriotism toward our veterans and active-duty military personnel. The stories take place on the battlefield, the homefront and sacred places commemorating those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today. I would like to share a few of them with you.
Marseilles, Ill., is a small town with fewer than 6,000 residents, yet it has the first memorial in U.S. history that honors men and women by name who have lost their lives in worldwide conflicts since 1979. The Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial has more than 7,000 names etched in granite on 12 panels that overlook the Illinois River. The names represent fallen heroes from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as those killed in the USS Cole attack, Panama, Grenada, Somalia and elsewhere. Gold Star families across the nation visit the memorial every year to honor their loved ones and to connect with others who understand their loss.
Then there are love stories. For example, a young couple was torn apart shortly after World War II but reunited, and married, more than 60 years later. And an Indiana woman visited the National World War II Museum in New Orleans hoping to find photos of her high school sweetheart, a Marine who was killed in the war. Instead, she happily discovered the diary that her sweetheart wrote to her.
There are many stirring stories from families with strong military connections. One that stands out to me is the Lucht brothers of Wisconsin - all Legionnaires - who served together on the same ship during the Korean War.
We also receive many stories from veterans recounting their days on the battlefield during the Korean or Vietnam War, and the stories are humbling. They remind me why I am able to continue to live in the land of the free, and it’s because of this freedom that I believe our nation’s most powerful symbol — the American flag — should be flown proudly everywhere. Thankfully, our proud veterans ensure that patriotism is upheld in communities nationwide.
The new web page and accompanying Facebook page also include stories of achievements by Legionnaires.
I know each one of you has a story to share, and I want to read about it. Please share your stories for us to enjoy, and for many more generations to come.
Share online: www.legiontown.org