Since 1919, Veterans Day has stood as an opportunity for the United States, as a nation, to pause and honor American veterans of all wars. In 2010, the 91st Veterans Day promises to be no different, with events scheduled across the country.
American Legion officers are scheduled to take part in some of these events. National Commander Jimmie Foster will speak at the National Veterans Award Dinner on Nov. 10, part of National Veterans Day in Birmingham, Ala. Foster’s speech will be covered on the Legion's website. The National Veterans Day schedule includes a memorial service, parade and World Peace Luncheon, as well as the dinner the night before. The National Veterans Award, instituted in 1954, is given “to honor an outstanding veteran in the United States each year who has made the greatest contribution to further the patriotic interests of veterans and veteran organizations throughout the country.” This year’s recipient is Gen. Charles C. Krulak, retired as a commandant of the Marine Corps and member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; previous winners include several of the Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal recipients.
National Vice Commander William Schrier will attend several events in the Washington area as the representative of The American Legion. Included are a breakfast reception at the White House hosted by Vice President Joe Biden; the wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery, part of the Veterans Day National Ceremony; and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ceremony at the Wall.
Other events surrounding this Veterans Day include the New York City Veterans Day Parade. Put on by the United War Veterans Council, the parade has made its way up Fifth Avenue every Nov. 11 since 1919. This year's parade, under the theme "Freedom is Not Free", will pay special tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Korean War. More than 3,000 active-duty soldiers, the largest group in several decades, will march with 20,000 others (including many Legionnaires) in front of up to 600,000 spectators. And on Nov. 10, Washington will be the site of the groundbreaking ceremony for the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial. The memorial is supported by the Legion per Resolution 48, adopted at the 2009 National Convention in Louisville. The Department of Veterans Affairs has named a list of “model” regional Veterans Day observances; the contact information for those events can be found here.
On a more local level, Jeff Davis Post 18 in Centreville, Md., is coordinating the fourth annual Veterans Day Waterfowl Weekend. From Nov. 11-14, the post and community will welcome injured veterans from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington for shooting, meals and banquets, and ceremonies honoring their service. They will even each receive a new 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun to use and keep. For more information or to donate, call Bob O’Connor at (410) 808-8514.
A guidelined Legion Veterans Day speech, prepared by the Public Relations Division, is available here. All posts are encouraged to upload recaps and photos of their Veterans Day celebrations and other community activities to the blog Legiontown USA. Legiontown is a place for Legionnaires to tell the stories of all the good they do, every day, and see how other Legionnaires across the country are doing the same.
To see what national businesses are offering Veterans Day promotions, click here.