As Veterans Day approaches, American Legion posts and Legion Family members across the nation are preparing to both host and participate in events in their communities. Some will participate in bell ringing, while others will sponsor or march in parades. And in Iowa, an American Legion post is hosting a benefit concert featuring songs from the World War I era.
American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad will have a busy Veterans Day in the nation’s capital. He’ll attend an 11 a.m. wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and ceremony inside the Memorial Amphitheater that will include a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries. And that afternoon he’ll attend an observance at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The following is a brief, state-by-state sampling of what American Legion posts and their Legion Family units, squadrons and chapters will be being this weekend to honor the nation’s veterans.
• The 99th annual Tucson Veterans Day Parade will take place Nov. 12, with the theme, “Celebration of Armistice Day.” Morgan McDermott Legion Post 7 sponsors the event with the city of Tucson. The parade will begin after opening ceremonies at 11 a.m. and features five grand marshals, all veterans of World War II. The parade begins downtown at West Alameda Street and Granada Avenue. For more information, go to http://www.tucsonveteransdayparade.org/.
• Also on Nov. 12 in Tucson, the Arizona History Museum, 949 E. Second St., will show a one-hour documentary, “Arizona Heroes of World War I,” every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The film commemorates both the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the 100th anniversary of the founding of The American Legion. The film includes 100-year-old historical footage from the National Archives and is sponsored by the Department of Arizona and endorsed by the United States World War I Centennial Commission. Viewing is free for anyone coming to just see the film; there is an admission charge to see the museum although veterans get into the museum for free. For more information about the documentary, visit http://www.arizonaheroesofww1.com/.
• In Loveland, American Legion Post 15 will team up with VFW Post 41 and the community in celebrating Veterans Day the same way it has since 1920: ringing bells throughout the city beginning at 4 a.m. Afterward at Loveland Burial Park, local Boy Scouts and volunteers will raise more than 50 20-foot poles with flags that have draped the caskets of veterans, lining the cemetery’s road. American Legion and VFW Auxiliary members will prepare a community breakfast, a parade takes place, and vendors and veterans service organizations set up booths throughout the city. An afternoon ceremony takes place at Dwayne Webster Veterans Memorial Park.
• In Colorado Springs, American Legion Post 5 members will lay a wreath at the city’s Medal of Honor monument, as well as one at the gravesite of Medal of Honor recipient Floyd Lindstrom. Both wreath layings will be streamed live here.
In Bristol. American Legion Seicheprey Post 2 will start with its monthly breakfast at the post and then join others in taking part in “Bells of Peace" at 11 a.m. A meal will follow at the post, and at 6 p.m. the post’s Auxiliary unit will conduct a lumination on the street leading to the post.
• American Legion Post 273 in Madeira Beach will take part in a “Bells of Peace” event.
• Legionnaires from throughout Florida’s District 15 will take part in a special ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park and Museum in Tampa. District 15 Public Relations Chairman Patricia Anne Delgado will have a table set up to hand out poppies and special cards made by children for veterans.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 578 in Bunker Hill is hosting a free chicken and dumpling dinner for all local veterans. The unit also will have a Quilts of Valor presentation before the dinner for two Legionnaires.
In Indianapolis — the city with the second-most memorials dedicated to veterans, behind only Washington, D.C. — a service and parade will be held to honor Veterans Day on Nov. 10. A service will be held at 11 a.m. at the Indiana War Memorial. Afterward, American Legion members will be well represented in the annual downtown parade.
• Highland Park American Legion Post 374 in Des Moines is commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I and the founding of The American Legion by hosting a benefit concert. About a dozen songs from the World War I era, such as “Over There”, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” and “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” will be performed, as well as each of the five military service branch songs. Those in attendance will have their own songbook to take home as souvenirs. The free concert will be held Nov. 11 at 2 p.m. at Post 374, 3712 2nd Ave., Des Moines. Donations will be accepted to support the Puppy Jake Foundation – a nonprofit in Des Moines that trains and provides service dogs for veterans.
• American Legion Post 653 in Denver is having a Veterans Day program at the local high school on the morning of Nov. 12, and a free dinner and program at the post that evening.
• American Legion Post 298 in Marion will conduct an honor guard presentation a Hy-Vee supermarket that feeds veterans for free, also at a local cemetery before taking part in a ceremony at the post.
American Legion Post 49 in Lebanon is hosting a Veterans Day ceremony at the National Cemetery in Lebanon. A reception will follow the ceremony at the post.
American Legion Post 434 is co-sponsoring a Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 9 at the X Center.
American Legion Post 7 in Alliance is participating in a parade and is co-sponsoring a veterans luncheon.
American Legion Post 149 is using Veterans Day to host a food drive to stock the shelves of the local Fisher House.
The church of The American Legion's first national commander, Franklin D’Olier, will toll "Bells of Peace" on Nov. 11 as part of the commemorations related to the World War One Centennial. St. Mary's Episcopal in Burlington will begin ringing its bells at 11 a.m. local time when the fighting stopped a century ago. D'Olier, who died in 1953, is buried in the St. Mary's church yard in his hometown of Burlington.
American Legion Post 69 in Albuquerque will celebrate Veterans Day with an open house for everyone in our community and a free luncheon for all veterans.
• Thousands of veterans and their families will gather Nov. 10 at the New York State Fairgrounds for the annual CNY Veterans Expo and Parade in Syracuse. The theme for this year’s event: The American Legion’s 100th anniversary. Prominently featured will be American Legion traveling exhibits highlighting the organization’s first century of accomplishments and its role in bringing to life and continuing to improve the GI Bill over the years. The expo runs from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Admission and parking are free of charge.
• Smith-Warren Post 367 in Scottsville will honor Vietnam veterans with a ceremony and lunch on Veterans Day. The post will give out 38 Vietnam commemorative lapel pins, certificates and locally produced commemorative challenge coins to all who served during the Vietnam War; two will be given to spouses of deceased Vietnam Veterans, while two will be given to families of Vietnam veterans killed in action in Vietnam. Post 367 also will commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I, as well as honor two local residents killed in action during World War I. Approximately 80 American Legion Family and community members will attend the ceremony and lunch.
American Legion Post 131 in Skiatook is joining with the local VFW post to conduct a Veterans Day parade, as well as provide a lunch for veterans, on Nov. 10.
American Legion Post and Auxiliary Unit 24 in Milton-Freewater will serve a free breakfast open to the community and take part in a Veterans Day parade.
American Legion Post 790 in Smithton is hosting its second annual Veterans Day Dinner at the Smithton Volunteer Fire Department Social Hall for local veterans and their families. The guest speaker will be U.S. Army Maj. Frank Kostik Jr., who is stationed in Military District Washington, Judge Advocate General.
American Legion Hopewell Memorial Post 146 in Hopewell is joining with VFW Post 637 and the city of Hopewell to conduct Veterans Day observances that include a special ceremony and memorial service honoring all veterans at City Point National Cemetery. The ceremony will pay special tribute to the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Armistice, the official end of World War I, and all those who served in the war.
Post 146 will host an open house lunch after the ceremony, and a parade will follow at 3 p.m. to honor all veterans. Post 146’s entire American Legion Family worked together on the planning, construction and operation of the World War I commemorative float.
And at 7 p.m., a special patriotic concert will be presented in the city' historic Beacon Theater and will feature music by the Greater Richmond Chorus of Sweet Adelines International.
At 10 a.m. Nov. 11, an interfaith worship service at Washington National Cathedral will honor the sacrifices of the 4.7 million Americans who served in World War I, as well as the role the U.S. military has played in defending liberty around the world for the past century. At 11 a.m., the centennial hour of the Armistice, the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission and the Cathedral will lead Bells of Peace, a national tolling of bells in remembrance. The public is welcome.
The U.S. World War One Centennial Commission is conducting a “First Look” program Nov. 8-12 at the site of the National World War I Memorial at Pershing Park in Washington, D.C. The memorial site will be open to the public each day beginning with a presentation of colors at 9 a.m. and concluding with taps at sunset daily. The “First Look Pavilion” will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. for guests to see the memorial model, learn where the memorial will be constructed, and find out how to support the project. The “First Look” program also includes several events; for free tickets, register here.
If your post is hosting a Veterans Day event, please share on The American Legion's web page, www.legiontown.org.