New SAL National Commander Hall: ‘Representing more than me’
Sons of The American Legion National Commander Donald Hall Jr. speaks during the Sons of The American Legion National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., on Sunday, August 27. Photo by Jeric Wilhelmsen/The American Legion

New SAL National Commander Hall: ‘Representing more than me’

Donald “JR” Hall Jr.’s slogan for his term as National Commander of the Sons of The American Legion: “Representing more than me.”

“As a member of the Sons, I represent my grandfather’s service. As a member of the Sons, you represent your family’s service. As a member of the Auxiliary, you represent your family's service. And if you served, you represent your branch of service, you represent your family,” Hall said after his election as SAL National Commander on Aug. 27, the final day of the SAL’s 51st National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

“‘Representing more than me’ is big, is big. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my grandfather’s service. That’s what it’s all about,” Hall said.

Hall, a member of Squadron 40 in Glen Burnie, Md., where he’s served as squadron commander several times, said, “This whole trip’s been for one guy: Edward Hall, World War II vet (and Hall’s grandfather).” He also thanked his family for their support — “You don’t do this without your family. You can’t do it without your family. I have such a great family.” — as well as the sizable contingent of Legion Family members from Maryland in the audience for his election and installation as SAL National Commander for 2023-24.

Leading candidates for American Legion National Commander, Dan Seehafer, and American Legion Auxiliary President Lisa Williamson, also spoke to the SAL convention after Hall’s election.

“I’m really about servant leadership, and right there is the commander,” Seehafer said, pointing to Hall.

“I am ready, I am super thrilled to be serving together with Dan and JR. It’s not about me … it’s about our mission, and I truly believe that. It’s about our mission supporting our veterans and their families and our communities, and our family as a whole … we can accomplish so much more as a family,” Williamson added.

It’s that notion that the Legion Family is stronger when working together that Hall emphasized. That includes a renewed effort for American Legion Family Day on the last Saturday in April.

“I’d like to have a commitment from everyone in the room, this year we make American Legion Family Day something big. Get ahold of the press in your neighborhoods, get ahold of your communities, bring them in your post. Show them what we do,” Hall said. “Let them know what we stand for and what we’re all about.”

Hall also encouraged SAL members to not only work hard to support the organization’s mission but to publicize those efforts.

“We need the (blue cap members) that are getting ready to work. We need the ones that are going to get out there and make sure our veterans are getting what they need, because we’re getting on VoterVoice, we’re backing the legislation to tell them to give our veterans what they need. We need the ones who make sure the children of our veterans are getting what they need. We need the ones who are working in the community. That’s what we need. We don’t need somebody that’s a bar member; we need real workers,” Hall said.

“… Let everybody know what you’re doing; ring your bell. When you get back to work, when you get outside the post, make sure everybody knows. … Let everyone know what the American Legion Family does. There are so many great things being done all the time, and the only people to hear about it is the person you’re doing it with. We’ve got to get the word out there!” he added.

Hall also announced his commander’s challenge for the year: the national Four Pillar Squadron achievement.

“All you have to do is this: $1 a member for OCW; $1 a member for CWF; $1 a member for your department’s Boys State; and hold a blood drive. That simple,” Hall said.

The SAL also elected the five national vice commanders for 2023-24 on Sunday. They are:

·       Northeast National Vice Commander John R. Cook of New Hampshire

·       Southeast National Vice Commander Linwood A. Moore of Virginia

·       Central National Vice Commander Robert L. Bristo of Minnesota

·       Midwest National Vice Commander Terry A. Harris of Kansas

·       Western National Vice Commander James R. Fischer Sr. of California