I think this whole organized religion thing is silly to begin with. However, the sight of a cross or Star of David does not offend me, bother me, or anything. The idea of separation of church and state has nothing to do with eliminating religion. It was designed to limit one religions over influence and oppression of the population and infringement upon our basic democratic principles.
As a young congressman who voted against a declaration of war in 1917, South Dakota's Johnson could not live with approving appropriations to support "sending other women's sons into war." So, although he was exempted from service, Johnson voluntarily enlisted in the Army, engaged in battle and was severely wounded. He survived and resumed his congressional career, where he authored the resolution to incorporate The American Legion.
After serving in World War I, White pushed for the creation of the Legion. At the 1954 national convention, Past National Commander Stephen Chadwick said he "was insistent that the first organizational caucus should be held in France, but he was equally willing that the permanent organizational meeting be held in America. ... The Paris caucus was George White's brainchild. The spirit of the caucus survives."
For developing a vaccine for polio, Salk received The American Legion's Distinguished Service medal in 1955. In his absence, 6-year-old Mary Kosloski accepted the award for the vaccine bearing Salk's name.
The poster child for the March of Dimes, Koslowski was diagnosed with the dreaded disease at only 5 months old. "I would like to thank all of The American Legion in behalf of the March of Dimes," she told delegates.
Presenting him with the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 1955, National Commander Seaborn P. Collins said Walsh "is primarily responsible for the establishment of the National Guard as the principal and most effective reserve component of the Army and the Air Force. He has a distinguished record of military service, exceeding over 50 years, and it still continues."
A charter member of Post 339 in Minneapolis, Walsh fought constantly for legislation in the best interest of The American Legion and the National Guard.
Established in 1926, Mott's Flint, Mich.-basedfoundation has given supported nonprofit programs throughout the United States, and the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor bears his name.
Boone provided the nation's veterans with the medical attention they deserve, both in the trenches of World War I and World War II, and later as chief medical director of the Veterans Administration from 1951 to 1955.
Known to millions of Americans from his presence on radio and television, the Roman Catholic cleric from New York received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 1957.
"We recognize in you a kindred spirit who, like The American Legion, is zealously fighting against the infiltrations of godless communism and who, by your understanding and brilliant sermons, are bringing our people ‘back to God' - a program which I know you realize is being sponsored by our American Legion posts throughout the world," Past National Commander Arthur J. Connell said.
A veteran of both world wars, Clark accepted the surrender of the Germans in 1945, and presided at the signing of the Korean War armistice in 1953. The next year, he assumed the presidency of The Citadel in South Carolina.
A Wall Street tycoon and presidential adviser, Baruch received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 1958, for his support of a strong national defense.
"In World War I he was the symbolic and dynamic leader of America's defense-mobilization effort," National Commander John S. Gleason Jr. told delegates. "World War II proved how right and how prophetic he was. ... his seeming inexhaustible strength and increasingly wise counsel were enlisted without hesitation or reservation in the cause of victory and a just and lasting peace."
In 1958, The American Legion gave its Distinguished Service Medal to the unknown servicemen of World War I, World War II and the Korean War, who live only in the memories of their comrades and families, with no known final resting place. They didn't earn every honor imaginable, nor did they achieve the highest rank. Nonetheless, these men and women died fighting for the nation's freedom.