December 1944. The Ardennes region of Belgium, France and Luxembourg. The horrid, frigid weather had never been colder. Desperate men, face to face, killing to stay alive. The Battle of the Bulge. Yet when the sun finally shone in January, the Allies began rolling the Germans eastward, winning the war at the Western Front.
In what many historians have called the bloodiest European theater combat of World War II, the Battle of the Bulge began Dec. 16, 1944, and officially ended Jan. 25, 1945. Approximately 500,000 Germans, 600,000 Americans and 55,000 British engaged in the fighting.
Photo courtesy of Linda Jacobs | Commander Roger Jacobs of American Legion Post 537 Morgantown, Alexander Hummel, Rep. Mark Gillen and George Svencer of the post's Legion Riders stand following the ceremony honoring Alexander's work done on behalf of combat-injured veterans.
Alexander Hummel, an 11-year-old boy, received a U.S. Congressional Citation for the work he has done for the nation's combat wounded through non-profit Keystone Iron Warriors. He was also honored with a ceremony on Oct. 7 at Post 537 in Morgantown, Pa.
Photos of Omaha Beach courtesy of John McWilliams
For veterans who served on D-Day at the beaches of Normandy, France, sand taken from Omaha and Utah Beach is available as a thank you.
Pastor John McWilliams and his wife were preparing for a trip to Europe to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Though his ministry has taken him all over the globe, he hadn't made it to Normandy, France.
Joan De Munbrun, a Legionnaire with the Charles W. Turner Post 867 at the Chula Vista Veterans Home in California’s District 22, received reassignment from the Eternal Commander-in-Chief to Post Everlasting on Sunday, Nov. 2. She was 101 years old.
Comrade Legionnaires in the 22nd District will long remember De Munbrun for her 67 years of active membership in The American Legion and for her never-failing dedication and commitment on behalf of her fellow veterans. De Munbrun attained the rank of Army Sergeant, high for women in the military services at the time.
McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst resident Delisa Sliker was recognized as Ms. New Jersey Veteran at the conclusion of a series of four New Jersey Resource and Opportunity Fairs held throughout the state.
Chief Petty Officer Sliker retired from her service with the United States Naval Reserve in September 2011 as an Intelligence Specialist. Sliker was an active-duty military member from November 1986 until March 1997, where she was a Machinery Repairman (MR) on USS Yosemite (AD-19), SIMA Little Creek, and the PreCom of USS Bataan (LHD-5).
Williamstown resident Jason Montgomery was recognized as “Mr. New Jersey Veteran” at the conclusion of a series of four New Jersey Resource and Opportunity Fairs held throughout the state.
SSG Jason Montgomery was an active-duty Army member from March 2004 until October 2011. The soldier held multiple positions during his military tenure, including Human Resource Information Systems Specialist at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he was assigned to the 18th Personal Support Battalion to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Moina Michael, the Poppy Lady, devoted her life to those in the service and to veterans. It is appropriate that she was honored by Georgia Women of Achievement, though in life she sought no recognition or reward for herself.
Please watch the video and see the interview with the veteran who was inspired by Moina Michael, and who inspired his daughter to write a book about her and donate the proceeds to families of veterans.
Adam Quinn was born on June 6, 1985, and was a Junior Reserve Officer Training Candidate while attending Deland High School in Florida. Upon graduation, Adam enlisted in the Army and served with the 82nd Airborne Division, which deployed to Forward Operating Base “Phoenix” in Afghanistan. A roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle, and Specialist Quinn lost his life on Oct. 6, 2007. He was posthumously promoted to sergeant, and awarded the United States Army Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart Enduring Freedom Medal.
During the rededication ceremony on Oct.
On Aug. 17, 2014, Boy Scouts of America Troop 417 of Red Bluff, Calif., held a Court of Honor for Gabriel Abramo Satori, who was advanced to the rank of Eagle Scout. During the ceremony, Frank Scotella, second vice from American Legion Post 45 in Corning, Calif., presented Gabriel with the American Legion Certificate of Recognition for making Eagle Scout. Brig. Gen. (retired) Michael LePeilbet presented Gabriel with the U.S. Army Youth Certificate of Recognition issued by the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Sacramento, Calif.
Pictured from left to right are LePeilbet, Sartori and Scotella.
Having spent most of his tender years from the age of 6 through 18 at St. Joseph's and St. Michael's School for Boys in Scranton and Hoban Heights, Pa., who would have thought that Frank Augustine would go on to live such a rich and full life?
Augustine has had a stellar year of recognition for his lifetime achievements and service to his community and his country that he accepted with calm, grace and humility. He was given a proclamation by Dawn Zimmer, mayor of Hoboken, presented with a Senate Resolution by N.J. Sen.
(Photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Wilson, 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs, Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri)
Matthews-Crawford Post 131 in Warrensburg, Missouri, recently honored three post members who reached the 70-year membership milestone with The American Legion. At the post's membership luncheon on Sept. 20, 2014, they were honored as over 140 Legion Family members and local dignitaries attended the event.
The three 70-year members were Howard E. Chappell, John W. Marr and James S. Whitfield.
More than 70 years after enlisting, World War II veteran George Talbott told his nephew Ray Talbott, also a veteran, he hadn't received the medals he’d earned. Like many vets, George hadn't talked much about his military experience. But looking over his DD-214, he realized he was short.
"So that's when I got with my niece (Lisa Fix) and she did some research on it," Ray said. "We found out everything he had earned.
Above: Dr. Bob Shumaker reuniting with his family after more than eight years in captivity.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is Sept. 19, 2014. But the mass movement to raise awareness for these servicemembers took place during the Vietnam War. The wives of POWs tortured and kept for years launched a fight to bring back prisoners of war and determine the fate of the men missing in action.
At a “Spirit of '45” celebration to recognize the military service of nine New Jersey World War II veterans and residents of the Voorhees Rehabilitation Center, the New Jersey director of employer outreach for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) presented 100-year-old World War II veteran Tommy De Lucia with an ESGR challenge coin.
At 100, the Philadelphia native has witnessed remarkable changes, from the invention of Henry’s Ford’s Model T to the tooling of a car that can transform into an airplane.
In 1942, PFC De Lucia began his military service.
It was the end of a long and tiring day for 96 veterans and their escorts, but every one of them remained excited and impressed with the Honor Flight trip to Washington in June.
Denver, Iowa, Post Chaplain and Post Commander Robert Schmitz welcomed Shorty Diercks and Herman Emkes back home.
The veterans all expressed their appreciation for the memories made during the trip, but most of them had to admit that the overwhelming welcome-home by nearly a thousand flag-waving, poster-bearing, proud and appreciative friends and families was the most memorable.
World War II veteran Mike Zaderecky receives his American Legion 70 continuous year star at a special presentation during the August meeting of the Joseph J. Jacubic Post 572 in Parma, Ohio. In addition to his 70 years of membership, he was also the first full term post commander back in 1946. Zaderecky is 96 years old, has been a member of the Legion for 70 years and has been an employee of the city of Parma since 1964. He is still working everyday as a bailiff in the Parma court system.
On Tuesday, Aug. 12, the Hernando County Board of County Commissioners (Brooksville, Fla.) approved a resolution commending Chaplain Charles Haig, recipient of Chapel of Four Chaplains Legion of Honor Award.
They presented Haig with a copy of the signed resolution and a framed copy of the “Legion of Honor” award he received for his selfless continued service to God, America and his community.
The Ottawa (Ohio) American Legion Post 63 recently celebrated the continuous membership of Andy Macke and Sidney Goodkin, who have both been Legionnaires for more than 70 years. They are both World War II veterans.
Pictured: Left to right, Bryce Agner, Post 63 adjutant; Andy Macke; Sid Goodkin and Bill Roberts, commander of Post 63.