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APRIL 20, 2012 COMMANDER’S MESSAGE


PLANNER MAY


1 Child Welfare Foundation grant applications available


5-6 SAL Spring NEC Meetings, Indianapolis


6 Child Welfare Foundation board of directors meeting, Indianapolis


7-10 Spring NEC Meetings, Indianapolis


9 100-percent membership target date


15 Peace Offi cers Memorial Day


19 Armed Forces Day 28 Memorial Day


31 End of Child Welfare Foundation award year


JUNE


14 Flag Day (Pause for the Pledge, 7 p.m. EDT)


JULY


1 Department Children & Youth reports due to National Headquarters


4 Independence Day


15 Child Welfare Foundation grant applications due to National Headquarters (postmarked NLT)


20-27 American Legion Boys Nation, Washington


26-28 National Membership Workshop, Indianapolis


26-28 Department Service Offi cers School, Indianapolis


Published monthly. Printed by HNE Printers, Columbus, Ind.


All American Legion publications are entitled and encouraged to reproduce all staff -written stories within, but please credit Dispatch as the source.


A proud member of The National American Legion Press Association. ACTIVATION


Want to get involved in one of The American Legion’s many national programs? Do you have a question about veterans aff airs, national defense or what is going on in Washington? All you have to do is pick up the phone or send an e-mail.


Americanism/Children & Youth (317) 630-1203 acy@legion.org


Economic (202) 861-2700


econ@legion.org Finance


317-630-1222 fi nance@legion.org


Internal Aff airs (317) 630-1330 ia@legion.org


Legislation


(202) 263-2981 leg@legion.org


National Security/Foreign Relations (202) 861-2700 nsfr@legion.org


National Convention (317) 630-1292 dholmes@legion.org bwilliams@legion.org


National Emblem Sales (888) 453-4466 emblem@legion.org emblem.legion.org


Public Relations (317) 630-1253 pr@legion.org


The American Legion Magazine (317) 630-1298


magazine@legion.org


The American Legion Library (317) 630-1366


library@legion.org


Veterans Aff airs & Rehabilitation (202) 861-2700 var@legion.org


American Legion Baseball (317) 630-1249


jquinlan@legion.org legion.org/baseball


American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (317) 630-1202 www.cwf-inc.org


American Legion Endowment Fund (317) 630-1202


American Legion Riders (317) 630-1327


legionriders@legion.org Boys Nation


(317) 630-1207 acy@legion.org


Family Support Network (317) 630-1395 (800) 504-4098


familysupport@legion.org


Junior Shooting Sports (317) 630-1249


cshort@legion.org


Legion College (317) 630-1265


mherndon@legion.org


National Emergency Fund (317) 630-1321 ia@legion.org


National Oratorical Contest (317) 630-1249


cshort@legion.org


Sons of The American Legion SAL@legion.org


Protecting the fl ag worth the fi ght Have you ever had the privilege of attending


the funeral of a veteran or a servicemember killed in the line of duty? I’m quite certain that most Legionnaires, at one time or another, have stood at the graveside of an American who wore the uniform, rendering a fi nal salute. In fact, thousands regularly volun- teer their time to be part of their post’s honor guard, considering it a sacred duty to pay tribute to our departed comrades and their families. Every moment of these


ceremonies is moving, but perhaps the most powerful is when a servicemember steps forward to present the U.S. fl ag to the surviving family. Every time, that fl ag has been meticulously folded, usually by two representatives from the deceased’s branch of service, and is gently placed in the hands of the widow, the parents or the children, on behalf of a grateful nation. Sometime between the folding of the fl ag and


Fang A. Wong National Commander


the presentation, a lump forms in my throat. At times, I’ve had to blink back tears. Even the most stoic of men labor to keep their emotions in check as Old Glory – folded smartly so that only the blue and the stars are showing – is received by surviving family members. T ere is no greater sendoff to Americans who in wartime put our country fi rst, and no better way to thank the loved ones who supported them. For more than 200 years, U.S. fl ags have


draped the caskets of young and old alike, from those who made the supreme sacrifi ce in battle to those who made it home. In every case, the fl ag honors what they gave to America and, for their loved ones, conveys the nation’s gratitude.


Correspondence and letters to the editor: The American Legion Dispatch P.O. Box 1055


Indianapolis, IN 46206


Subscriptions or customer service: (317) 630-1298


Annual subscription rate: $15


Editorial offi ce: (317) 630-1352 Fax: (317) 630-1280


Online: www.legion.org STILL SERVING AMERICA


Does your post have a unique community program, an innovative recruiting method or a creative way of spreading the Legion message that could be implemented at posts across the country? Tell us how your post and its members are Still Serving America.


In submitting your information, include your full name, address and telephone number. Send your items, labeled Still Serving America, to the correspondence address at left.


EDITOR Steve B. Brooks


CONTRIBUTORS Matt Grills


Andy Romey Jeff Stoff er


DESIGNER Rebecca Staley At other times, the Stars and Stripes rallies


Americans. Raised at Ground Zero in the grim days following 9/11, our fl ag sent a message to friends and enemies that the United States wouldn’t go quietly into the night. For legal immigrants aspiring to American citizenship, the fl ag has long meant the hope for a better life. For Olympic athletes about to receive a medal, the fl ag embodies pride in self and country. T ere is no symbol more powerful in our


nation, yet because of a 1989 Supreme Court decision, that symbol remains unprotected against physical desecration. Every time the U.S. fl ag is burned or ripped, it’s an aff ront to those of us who know it’s far more than a piece of cloth. For more than 20 years, T e American Legion


has led the campaign against fl ag desecration, lobbying Congress on behalf of the millions of Americans who support a constitutional amend- ment that would return to the people the right to protect their fl ag. Currently, two pieces of legisla- tion – H.J. Res 13 in the House, S.J. Res. 13 in the Senate – await action. T ey say, simply: “T e Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the fl ag of the United States.” So far, there are 82 co-sponsors in the House, and 33 have signed on in the Senate. T at’s not enough. Contact your elected senators and representatives. If they’re co-sponsors, thank them. If they’re not, ask them to sign on to show their support for the legislation. We’ve made it easy to contact them online through the Legisla- tive Action Center (capwiz.com/legion/home/). T ere is no symbol more powerful or more worth prot


otecting than our fl ag. ng than our flag Memoranda


NATIONAL CONVENTION HITS FACEBOOK


A new American Legion National Convention page has been created on Facebook. The page is designed to allow American Legion family members to share information about American Legion national conventions and interact with other Legionnaires who plan on attending the national convention. All Legion family members are encouraged to visit the page and click “Like.”


www.facebook.com/


TheAmericanLegion NationalConvention


‘PAUSE FOR THE PLEDGE’ JUNE 14


On June 14 at 7 p.m., Americans across the country will pause to recite the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pause for the Pledge was started in 1980 by a small group of patriotic Baltimore business leaders. It has since evolved into a national event, with communities and organizations across the country conducting their own Pause for the Pledge.


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