1. Take action to ensure troops are paid in a government shutdown
With a government shutdown closing in, our servicemembers face the prospect of not being paid even as they protect us around the globe.
Unlike the 35-day shutdown that ended in January 2019, no legislation has been passed ensuring that soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and guardians are protected during a likely shutdown.
To resolve this, Congress must pass H.R. 5641, the Pay Our Troops Act of 2023, wrote National Commander Daniel J. Seehafer. This legislation would take unappropriated Treasury funds and pay our uniformed military as well as civilian support staff in the event of a government shutdown on Oct 1. Sign up for our Grassroots Action Center so you can easily contact your representative and encourage them to support this critical legislation.
There’s more: During the previous shutdown, only the Coast Guard was not paid because they are funded through Homeland Security. H.R.2693, Pay Our Coast Guard Parity Act of 2023, would make appropriations for Coast Guard pay in the event an appropriations Act expires. Click here to support this legislation.
2. Initiatives to reduce veteran suicide
The American Legion’s Be the One mission aims to destigmatize asking for help, while empowering everyone — veterans, servicemembers and civilians — to take the appropriate action when the life of a veteran or servicemember is at risk. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a range of initiatives that are geared toward getting veterans in crisis the help they need, such as the 24/7 confidential hotline – 988 and press 1 – and the website VA.gov/REACH where veterans and family members can navigate a range of resources available to help in a time of need..
As part of September’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, VA Secretary Denis McDonough discussed his department’s key initiatives, The American Legion’s role and more. Read the story here.
Support Be the One Days: Sunday, Oct. 1, is the next American Legion Be the One Day. On the first day of every month, Legion Family members are encouraged to wear a Be the One item to show their commitment to reducing the stigma around mental health issues among veterans and servicemembers. And to start a conversation about what Be the One is and how to save the life of a veteran. Legion posts should also promote Be the One on the first day of every month.
3. Give your input on the Global War on Terrorism memorial design
The Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Memorial Foundation has a designated site and a designer for its national memorial in Washington, D.C. The foundation is asking for the public’s help in designing “the most inclusive war memorial in American history.”
Give your input by taking this survey from now until Oct. 17.
This is the public’s chance to express what they think the memorial should look like, and the message it should send to fellow Americans and the world. The American Legion supports the memorial’s construction by resolution.
Share your story: The American Legion wants to hear about your time in service. You can share at www.legiontown.org.
4. A story of Buffalo Soldiers
This week’s American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast episode welcomes Ivan A. Houston, the son and grandson of Buffalo Soldiers, who finished his father’s book about his triumphant return to the Italian village he helped liberate.
Ivan J. Houston, his father, was a Buffalo Soldier in the 92nd Division who served in Europe during World War II. His grandfather was also a Buffalo Soldier in the 92nd Division, who served in France during World War I. Houston’s father wrote a book about a decade ago, based on his journal from World War II. “Dad was one of the few folks who talked about World War II,” he said.
After the book was published, the elder Houston was regularly honored in Italy from 2012 to 2019. He decided to write a second book about those experiences. “Dad was sharp until the very end, he was on point before he passed, which was very helpful to me,” he said. “He would tell me, ‘Don’t forget to finish the book.’”
There’s more in this episode: American Legion Tango Alpha Lima podcast hosts Jeff Daly and Ashley Gutermuth also discuss: if there any place more romantic than an Air Force base; where to find free career guidance for veterans; and the ocean rescue of a man who was hanging onto a plastic cooler lid, the size of a boogie board.
5. Youth thriving thanks to Legion support
The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (CWF) was founded in 1954 to grants to nonprofits that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual welfare of children and youth through programs, research and resources. To date CWF has awarded over $19 million dollars to assist the children of this country. Two grant recipients recently spoke how the CWF is supporting their organization’s mission.
- Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation was awarded $9,450 for its project “Heads UP Pittsburgh: Baseline Concussion Testing.” The grant is helping to provide baseline concussion testing and education for youth. The concussion baseline testing, known as ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), started in 2011 and began pediatric testing in 2015. Over 30,500 tests have been administered to Pittsburgh area youth.
- American Kidney Fund of Rockville, Md., was awarded $25,000 for its project “American Kidney Fund Virtual Camp: National Camp for Pediatric Kidney Patients.” This grant will help the American Kidney Fund conduct virtual camps for kids with kidney disease. “It’s an opportunity for kids to connect with others who truly understand what they are going through,” said Daniell Griffin, senior director of Individual Giving for the American Kidney Fund. “It provides children with a break from hospital treatment and allows them to enjoy just being a kid.”
Earn the CWF banner: American Legion posts, Legion Riders chapters, Auxiliary units, Sons of The American Legion squadrons and Eight & Forty salons are eligible for the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation (CWF) 100% per capita banner for the 2023-2024 membership year. To qualify for the banner, a post, unit, squadron or salon must donate at least $1 per member based upon respective official membership total for the 2023-2024 year. Download the fillable CWF 100% per capita banner form.