For Holly Lewis, doing the work of The American Legion in her community means following the lead of the organization’s founders.
She finds her inspiration in one particular phrase in the preamble to the Legion’s constitution: “To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation.”
“‘Inculcate’ means to teach repeatedly,” Lewis says. “It’s our job to teach repeatedly. What applied 100 years ago still applies today, and it will apply in the future.”
An example is the annual Flag Day retirement ceremony hosted by Stevens-Christian Memorial Post 557 in Wintersville, Ohio, where Lewis is commander. Community members turn in roughly 500 worn flags.
“Our post feels that our flag retirement is really important to the community, especially to our youth,” she says. “It’s a teaching opportunity for our local Boy Scouts, Young Marines, our grandchildren, our children, to teach them what it means to have respect for our flag and how to retire it properly.”
As Legion Family members, Boy Scouts, community members and others take turns lowering the flags into a contained fire, Lewis looks at the bigger picture.
“Success would mean that there wouldn’t be a child in this community who didn’t respect our flag, respect what it stands for, and know its proper handling and care. We’re not there yet. But with our passion and our willingness to go out and do these types of events, we’ll get there eventually.”
Branch of Service Navy (1985-1992)
Rank Petty officer second class
Military job Ocean systems technician (maintainer)
American Legion post Stevens-Christian Memorial Post 557, Wintersville, Ohio
Years in The Legion 11
• Post commander (2014-2016, 2018-present)
• District commander (2017-2018)
• Department assistant sergeant-at-arms (2018-present)
• National Media & Communications Council (2017-present)
• Race-to-the-Top Large Category winner (2018)