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Legion Riders provide socially distanced birthday surprise to 16-year-old

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Stay-at-home orders across the country have changed the way students have finished out the school year. Proms and graduations became virtual events, while classroom instruction turned to e-learning.

And for one 16-year-old in Inwood, W.Va., the coronavirus pandemic meant spending her sweet 16 birthday at home with no chance of a real party. But thanks to American Legion Riders Chapter 14 in nearby Martinsburg, the young woman still got a party, of sorts.

Paige, the birthday girl, had already gotten various birthday wishes from family and friends through social media, text messages and videos. And even her neighbors from across the street, American Legion Riders Chapter 14 Director Ken Moneagle and his wife Julie, had placed a banner on their porch wishing her a happy birthday.

But Ken wanted to do more. So he reached out to fellow Chapter 14 Legion Riders and arranged for them to show up that evening. A text message to Paige’s mom, Adrianne, brought the family outside, where a parade of motorcycles were coming down the street to their house. The group held up signs with birthday wishes, revved their engines, and stopped to give Paige a gift, sing “Happy Birthday” and talked with her.

Moneagle said Paige was “totally elated” when the Riders showed up. She had no idea. It was a pretty good, happy moment.”

Though none of the other Riders knew Paige or her family, Moneagle said the birthday surprise was an easy sell. “It’s just what we do in the community,” he said. “I told our guys, ‘we do a lot of things for the veterans, but we also do things for the community. And that’s important, to be seen doing good things in the community. If we want their help to come to breakfasts, to dinners or whatever we’re doing, we have to be supported by them. So why not support them?”

The effort made an impact on Paige and her family. “The only (Riders) who knew our family were Ken and his beautiful wife, Julie,” Paige’s mom wrote to the Journal. “All the other members of the American Legion answered Ken’s call to make a 16-year-old girl’s birthday special simply because they are good, kind people. These veterans served their country, and they continue to serve their community. Amazing.”

Service First, Fundraiser Follows. In addition to conducting a much-need blood drive, SSG Michael A. Dickinson II Post 257 in Battle Creek, Mich., has been performing a valuable service while raising funds for its programs.

Currently, Michigan residents aren’t allowed to return glass bottles and cans. Members of Post 257 have been collecting cans and bottles from residents to return them once restrictions are lifted.

“In about two weeks, we’ve collected an absolute mountain of returnable containers,” Post 257 Commander Brian Mohlman said. “Not only does this work as a great fundraiser … least every other person that makes a donation is eligible to become a Legion Family member. We’re thinking outside the box.”

More from American Legion Family efforts to support their communities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Arizona

American Legion Riders from different Arizona chapters were part of a motorcade with Northern Arizona VA Health Care System (NAVAHCS) employees that made a 200-mile trip from the VA facility in Prescott to the Hopi Reservation to deliver boxes of food, bottled water and other donated products. The donations went to approximately 80 homebound veterans and their families who are members of the Hopi Tribe and the Arizona Tewa people.

Sixteen American Legion posts across Northern Arizona helped provide the donated goods.

California

• With some of services shut down due to the coronavirus leading to reduced staff, Laguna Woods Village retirement community had no one to raise and lower its clubhouse flags on a daily basis. American Legion Post 257 in Laguna Woods was contacted, and since then members of the post have been raising and lowering the flags daily.

• Newhall-Saugus American Legion Post 507, Santa Clarita Grocery and other local organizations teamed up to provide free lunches as a way to recognize National Military Appreciation Month. The effort resulted in 200 hot dogs provided to veterans and their families while observing social distancing. A similar lunch is scheduled for May 23. “The American Legion is a local organization located … dedicated to welfare of veterans, community service and patriotism, and this event pretty much melds all of those together,” said Sons of The American Legion Squadron 507 Commander Mike Merlo told KHTS.

Connecticut

Ezra Woods Post 31 in New Milford conducted a food drive to make a large donation to the Milford Food Bank. “Our goal is always serving the community, state and nation,” Post 31 Commander Jeff McBreairty said. “We hope all the food items will be enjoyed by many residents in New Milford.”

Iowa

In addition to serving up weekly curbside meals, members of Post 37’s American Legion Family in Ames recently heard that the vending machines at the Iowa Veterans Homes were out of snacks because vendors currently aren’t allowed to restock them.

Legion Family members collected candy bars, snacks and other treats and delivered them to the veterans home.

“It really does bring tears to the eye almost of how much people think about our residents, think about our veterans,” Aimee Deimerly-Snyder, Volunteer Services Coordinator at the Iowa Veterans Home, told WHO-TV. “And it really does make a difference knowing people are thinking about them.”

Minnesota

American Legion Post 82 in Winnebago has been providing free meals three nights a week to any veterans or other community members in need.

Missouri

After spending two months in isolation, 91-year-old Korean War veteran Rita Jordan got a chance to meet with fellow members of Women Veterans of SW Missouri American Legion Post 1214 in Springfield.

In appreciation for Jordan’s service as a U.S. Navy interpreter and parachute rigger, Post 1214 charter members Mary Clapper and Chaplain Jan Lile presented her with a Quilt of Valor made by the Ozark Piecemakers Quilt Guild.

New Jersey

For the past six years, Morvay-Miley Post 524 in Ocean City has provided expense-paid vacations for returning military men and women, getting donations from both local residents and businesses to make it happen. When the coronavirus pandemic shut down some of those businesses, Post 524 decided to repay their generosity.

Instead of soliciting donations from local businesses for this summer’s Rest and Relaxation Program, the post is purchasing two gift certificates from every business that has donated in the past six years. The gift certificates will be given to the Rest and Relaxation vacation recipients.

“We want to support the people – the businesses that shut down and suffered,” Post 524 Rest and Relaxation Chairman Jerry Bonner told OCNJ Daily. “We want to support the people who have been supporting us.”

New York

• After a 32-day stay in the hospital, American Legion Rider Ron Jarvis was greeted as he left the hospital by nearly a dozen fellow Riders from ALR Chapter 574 in Hudson Falls. The Riders provided Jarvis with an escort home. “It was amazing,” Jarvis told The Post Star. “It made me proud of being a vet.”

• In Black River, American Legion Post 637 spent a Saturday afternoon grilling and then handing out 300 free barbecue chicken dinners. “You know, we are grateful and we love the Village of Black River. We do everything we can for the village, and the village does a lot for us,” Post 637 Commander John Charbonneau told WWNY-TV. “We just have a great bunch of people you can see, that enjoys everything they are doing for our Legion.”

• In Central Square, Post 915’s America Legion Family found out about a food program shortage in the Central Square Central School District (CSCSD), which feeds around 1,600 children who qualify for free or reduced meals. But that need has gone up since the coronavirus hit. So Post 915’s Legion Family presented CSCSD Superintendent Tom Colabufo with the check for $2,500 for the school food pantry.

• In the Bronx, American Legion Leonard Hawkins Post 156 and Boy Scout Troop 211 have been assisting City Island Strong in making home deliveries of groceries for local residents worried about going to the grocery store. The effort also is providing hot meals to residents.

Ohio

After the Dayton VA Medical Center went to a lockdown, allowing entry to only staff, patients and those veterans who use the facility for hospital care, American Legion Auxiliary Unit 526 in Fairborn was kept from delivering its normal volunteer services.

So Susan Masten, the American Legion Auxiliary’s Department of Ohio chief representative at the Dayton VAMC and a Unit 526 member, reached out to the facility to see what her unit could do to help.

A request for cloth masks for the facility’s outpatients to use was made, and the unit immediately responded by purchasing $300 worth of masks. Other Auxiliary units are donating funds to purchase more masks.

Oregon

American Legion Post 10 in Albany has teamed up with the veteran-owned Dot Ranch up to create the Veterans Pantry Project to provide food boxes to local veterans and their families. Veterans and their family members can pick up a box filled with fresh meats provided by area ranchers, vegetables and items from the American Legion food pantry.

Pennsylvania

• American Legion Post 952 in Hookstown has been providing homemade meals and food baskets for veterans and elderly residents in the community since the beginning of this pandemic.

• In Hollidaysburg, 14-year-old American Legion Auxiliary Unit 516 junior member Jada Singer has been helping make masks for veterans, health-care workers and community members in need of them.

Virginia

When Deborah Tokarz was looking for a kitchen to prepare meals for local medical workers through her “Feed Our First Responders” program, she turned to Major Charles A. Ransom American Legion Post 186 in Midlothian.

The post offered up its kitchen, and its American Legion Family members have begun helping Tokarz prepare the meals being distributed to area hospitals and emergency rooms.

“They’ve been so kind and generous,” Tokarz told the Chesterfield Observer. “If it wasn’t for their generosity, I’m not sure how we would have done this,” says Tokarz of the American Legion Post. “Everyone has a hand in it.”

In the past seven weeks, the nonprofit has distributed more than 19,000 individually packaged homemade meals to various health-care facilities.

“We figured that was the least we could do for the folks who are putting themselves on the frontline,” Post 186 Quartermaster Richard Hahn told the Observer. “I always tell people, the pledge we took never expires. We find a way, somehow.”

Washington

American Legion 143 in Twisp was recently contacted by the family of a veteran who recently had passed away. His family had been mailed the veteran’s casket flag, rather than having it presented to them.

So Post 143 First Vice Commander Keith Morden and Sergeant-at-Arms William Robinson coordinated a flag ceremony so that the flag could be properly presented to the widow, all while maintaining social distancing.


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Trump’s Dilemma: Reject DeVos Debt Forgiveness Rollback or Anger Veterans

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Nancy Pelosi sent the president a bipartisan resolution to reverse his education secretary’s tightening of student debt forgiveness rules. He must decide whether to sign it during an economic crisis.

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Military Appreciation Month deals and discounts

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Here are some discounts available for veterans and servicemembers for restaurants and retail outlets during Military Appreciation Month. While these have been verified, check your local franchise to be sure that they are honoring the discounts and for more information.

Many states and communities have mandated safety procedures requiring social distancing including carry-out only at restaurants during COVID-19. The American Legion encourages veterans and their families to adhere to these guidelines and other current safety recommendations when going out into public.

Also, American Legion members and Sons of The American Legion members receive special discounts through their membership. Learn more about the deals offered at our special discounts page.

Restaurants

McCormick & Schmick’s. U.S. military members, veterans, nurses, doctors and first responders receive 10 percent off on Monday, May 25. Dine-in only.

Retail

7-Eleven. Members receive a free medium coffee or Big Gulp® on Memorial Day, July 4 and Veterans Day. 7-Eleven has joined forces with Veterans Advantage to offer military discounts at its convenience stores nationwide. Veterans Advantage is a public benefit corporation that creates exclusive benefits and discounts for active duty, retired, veteran, guard, reservists and family members.

Academy Sports. Health-care professionals, first responders and military members receive 10 percent off purchases in-store and online May 4 to 25.

Alpha Industries. During the month of May, all active duty, retired and reservist members of the U.S. Armed Forces are eligible to receive 30 percent off for Military Appreciation month. Verification required.

Big Lots. First responders, medical professionals, active military personnel, veterans and commercial drivers receive 15 percent off everything in stores and online through May. In stores, show the cashier your valid work ID, military ID, commercial driver’s license or badge. Online, use code BIG HEROES at checkout.

Eyemart Express. Bring in your retired, active- or non-active, veteran, or dependent military ID for 10 percent off.

Happiest Baby. Members of the military receive 40 percent off SNOO purchases and 10 percent off SNOO smart sleeper rentals.

Home Depot. All veterans are eligible for Home Depot's 10 percent military discount on Memorial Day with a DoD-issued ID, a DD214 or a veterans driver’s license. This discount is good for veterans on July 4 and Veterans Day as well.

Hylete. The HYLETE Service League was created to show appreciation for members of the military, veterans and first responders who utilize their personal fitness to ensure our safety. Service league perks include 40 percent off the retail value on all HYLETE orders.

LIXIL. Save up to 90 percent off on kitchen and bath products from American Standard, GROHE, DXV and INAX. Offer extended to servicemembers from all branches of the U.S. military and veterans. Verification is required.

Rack Room Shoes. U.S. military and their families receive 20 percent off purchase for Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day. Must show valid military ID. In store only.

Sleep Number. Military families receive an extra $100 off all Sleep Number beds and adjustable bases with promo code. Visit website to receive promo code.

Sherwin Williams. Military members and their spouses receive 15 percent off on paints, stains and painting supplies.


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The American Legion to Washington: ‘Extend the National Guard!’

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American Legion National Commander James “Bill” Oxford called on the White House to extend federal orders to thousands of members of the National Guard whose current deployments in coronavirus relief efforts fall one day short of the 90-day period required to obtain many benefits including home loans, education and retirement.

“Highly unfair and disturbing,” is how Oxford described the plan to award those deployed credit for 89 days of federal service. “I served many years in the North Carolina National Guard. I know the caliber of these outstanding men and women who leave their homes and literally risk their lives so communities across America can be safe during national emergencies.

“The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for many people. We would be far worse off if we did not have the National Guard setting up field hospitals, cleaning nursing homes and delivering emergency supplies. An 89-day deployment strongly suggests a decision based on accounting rather than what’s needed to truly respond to this emergency. The American Legion is calling for the president to fix this.”


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American Legion Family adapts, overcomes for Memorial Day

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For years Jenkins-Vaughan Post 97 in Cardington, Ohio, has coordinated the village of around 1,700 residents’ Memorial Day parade. Considering the 2019 edition of the parade featured 56 units, this year’s cancellation due to the coronavirus was going to be noticed by the community.

But thanks to Post 97, village officials and the civic group Friends of Cardington, the community will have a Memorial Day ceremony, whether they choose to leave their homes to watch it or stay at home with their smart phone, tablet or laptop.

This year’s program will consist of a small procession carrying the colors of the nation through the village and a ceremony at the Civil War Monument in Glendale Cemetery – all streamed online through Post 97’s Facebook page and other online sources.

“We just felt it was very important for us to honor the dead at Memorial Day like we always do,” said American Legion Past National Vice Commander James Morris, a member and past commander of Post 97. “We wanted to do a little more, something different. Our parade is very big. We wanted to keep something going.”

Members of Post 97’s American Legion Family will carry the colors from American Legion Park through the village and will take part in a POW/MIA ceremony and 21-gun salute at the cemetery. Those along the procession route are encouraged to watch from the porches, windows or yards while observing proper social distancing. And buglers from the Cardington-Lincoln High School Band will be stationed throughout the village to play taps.

There will be no seating for the program at the cemetery, and those who attend to watch are urged to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Morris said it was important to offer a virtual option for those not wanting to leave their homes. “It was important to us because (community members) support us a lot,” he said. “They support The American Legion and the community. We just wanted to let them know we were thinking about them. If they didn’t want to come out, that’s OK.”

In the weeks leading up to Memorial Day, Post 97 used its Facebook page to urge members of the community to get involved with the day of remembrance. Those included placing a wreath or flowers at a local veteran’s gravesite; or displaying signs, banners, or other visual displays for their front porch, yard, or window.

“We felt it was important that we do this,” Sons of The American Legion Squadron Commander Wes Goodman said. “When you look back over the course of our nation’s history, we’ve faced tons of adversity in the past. We’ve celebrated Memorial Day in the middle of wars. We celebrated Memorial Day during a pandemic 100 years ago. We just felt strongly … that it was important to find a way to meaningfully honor Memorial Day and to involve our community.”

Memorial Day With a YouTube Twist. Members of American Legion Post 1009 in Yorktown Heights, N.Y., knew that their community’s annual Memorial Day parade – coordinated each year by either the post or Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8328 – was going to be canceled because of the coronavirus. But letting Memorial Day come and go without any kind of observance wasn’t in the cards for the post.

That’s why Post 1009 recorded a video of a virtual tour of various veterans and military memorials and monuments in the Yorktown area. The post has made the video available on YouTube to learn about the sacrifices made by those honored on those memorials and monuments.

The post originally considered putting together a written tour of the memorials, complete with Legionnaires stationed at each stop, but realized that another plan was needed in the interest of social distancing. That’s where the idea of a video tour came about.

“The thought was to make it like you were driving,” Post 1009 Adjutant Patrick McDonough said. “It’s kind of like you went along the (route).”

The nearly 15-minute video takes viewers on a tour of local monuments dating back to the Revolutionary War. It also includes visits to memorial parks, bridges and a highway, as well as the playing of taps and the singing of the national anthem. A written tour of the video is being placed on Facebook so those who want to can take the tour in person.

“(The Memorial Day parade) isn’t for us. It’s for those that didn’t come back,” McDonough said. “The hope is that (the video) is passed on and passed on (before Memorial Day).”

A similar effort happened at Garden Oaks American Legion Post 560 in Texas, where Memorial Day typically consists of the post’s memorial service and barbecue. Members of the post created an online tribute to the sacrifices of the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces.

The five-minute speech is available online here.

California

• Members of American Legion Post 174 in Willits are placing flags at local cemeteries in place of the annual Memorial Day ceremony.

• In Santa Ynez Valley, American Legion Post 160 and VFW Post 7139 and American Legion Post 160 are placing U.S. flags on all veteran graves located at the Mission, Chalk Hill, Oak Hill and Saint Mark’s cemeteries.

Connecticut

American Legion Post 176 gathered up old flags and replaced them with around 700 new ones in six town cemeteries in Monroe.

Georgia

• The American Legion Dexter Allen Post 90 in Statesboro is conducting its annual Memorial Day ceremony on the Emma Kelly Theater stage inside the Averitt Center, but this year it will happen without a live audience. But a video of the ceremony, which will include several Post 90 members, will be aired on several online outlets on Memorial Day.

• Members of Post 9’s American Legion Family in Brunswick wouldn’t let the cancellation of the local Memorial Day ceremony stop them from honoring veterans buried in the area. They placed hundreds of flags on the gravesites of every veteran buried in three different local cemeteries. “We’re standing on their shoulders and we’re remembering them,” Post 9 Legionnaire John Orr told The Brunswick News.

Illinois

American Legion Post 488 in Riverside and Riverside TV are putting together a highlights video of previous Memorial Day ceremonies to air on local cable channels on May 25. Included in the video will be a segment honoring Riverside resident Dr. Joseph E. Troiani as an honored veteran.

Post 488 also is hosting a free Zoom program for the public on May 25 that will feature Abraham Lincoln interpreter George Buss performing Lincoln's second inaugural address, delivered in 1865 during the closing days of the Civil War.

Maryland

• A handful of American Legion Baseball players joined up with members of Francis Scott Key Post 11 in Frederick to place thousands of flags on the graves of veterans buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery. Typically the post also gets assistance placing the flags from the Boy Scouts and local Junior ROTC participants but couldn’t this year because of the coronavirus shutting down those programs. It also was the first year placing the flags without former Post 11 Commander Bryan Hissey, who passed away earlier this year. “We’re going to try to keep his project going and continue doing what we’re doing,” Frederick County Commander and Post 11 Legionnaire Keith Clevenger told The Frederick News-Post.

• American Legion Post 239 in Cascade is placing more than 400 flags on veterans’ graves this weekend.

Massachusetts

In Newton, members of Sons of The American Legion Squadron 440 continued a yearly tradition of placing American flags and signs thanking veterans across highway bridges and around the city. The squadrons placed around 230 flags across 23 bridges in three different communities.

Members of American Legion Post 440 are joining up with other local civic organizations and for a “Rolling Memorial” drive throughout the surrounding communities. The ride will include several floats and hit a majority of the streets in the area.

Michigan

• SSG Michael A. Dickinson, II Post 257 in Battle Creek and students from Harper Creek High School joined up to place flags on veterans’ graves at Floral Lawn Memorial Cemetery. All participants followed social distancing guidelines. They placed flags on the graves of veterans while social distancing. “It's hard enough getting teenagers out of bed on Saturdays to do some work,” Post 257 Commander Brian Mohlman told WWMT. “This is very, very rewarding work on their part. They're learning something. They're learning how and why we honor veterans.”

• In Big Rapids, Harry K. Kunzie Post 98 is inviting the community to a socially distanced Memorial Day ceremony at Holland Park. “Memorial Day is for reflection and to honor those who have fallen in the line of duty," Post 98 Commander Bill Yontz told The Pioneer. “The very freedoms of our country have been paid for by the blood of these men and women."

• In Sault, Post 3 placed 1,200 flags on the graves of veterans buried in the area.

Minnesota

In Litchfield, Minnesota, Nelsan/Horton Post-104 will be hosting a pre-recorded Memorial Day Program that will be heard on local radio station KLFD. The program will include a fife and bugle opening and patriotic music, various speakers, a reading of the Gettysburg Address, a 21-gun salute and taps, and the singing of “God Bless America.” is sung, and then a Thank You to all who took the time to listen. Each segment was recorded individually for the sake of social distancing.

Nebraska

Observing social distancing, American Legion Post 5 in Scottsbluff will join with volunteers to place flags on the graves of veterans in Fairview and Sunset cemeteries.

New Jersey

American Legion Post 184 in Wildwood is teaming up with the local police and fire department to stage a drive-by parade on May 24. First responders will drive through town and also pass by the homes of residents who have signed up to participate in the event. Other Memorial Day activities include a contest for residents to decorate their homes with a patriotic scene, and coloring and activity pages for local youth. Post 184 created the pages to help parents educate their children about Memorial Day. Each student that completes and submits one of the pages will receive a handwritten note from one of Post 184’s members and an American flag

“The true meaning of Memorial Day is commonly forgotten," Post 184 Commander Harry Weimar said. "We hope these learning opportunities and the parade experience will make everyone remember 'freedom isn't free,' especially the next generation.”

A Memorial Day ceremony will take place with no audience, but the ceremony will be streamed live through Post 184’s Facebook page and on Wildwood365.blogspot.com.

New York

• American Legion Post 323 is teaming up with the Veterans of Foreign Wars to place 1,444 U.S. flags on the graves of local veterans.

• No parade will take place in Whitehall, but American Legion Post 83 will still place flags on veterans’ graves and provide a scaled-down ceremony.

• In Cazenovia, American Legion Post 88 will live stream its Memorial Day ceremony, which includes the annual reading of the names of local veterans who lost their lives in the past year. The link for the live stream will be shared prior to Memorial Day on the Village of Cazenovia website, the CazCOVIDResponse website, and numerous local social media venues.

North Carolina

• American Legion Post 86 and the Town of Cornelius are teaming up to pre-record a Memorial Day ceremony that will be posted on the town’s Department Parks, Arts, Recreation and Culture Facebook page. Post 86 Commander Gene McKinney will serve as master of ceremonies.

• In Huntersville, American Legion Post 321 and the Town of Huntersville will host a virtual observance on Memorial Day.

Ohio

• American Legion Post 637 in Millersport came up with an alternative to the annual Memorial Day parade. The post is conducting a community car parade at the Millersport Cemetery. The post also is marking the approximately 200 veteran graves in the cemetery with a white cross and U.S. flag.

• American Legion Post 28 in Perrysburg led a community effort that placed nearly 2,000 flags on veterans’ graves in Fort Meigs Union Cemetery. “We wanted to make sure that people still understood that the service and the sacrifice of those who have fallen in defense of this nation is not forgotten, despite whatever else is going on right now,” Post 28 Commander Haraz Ghanbari told the Toledo Blade. “I’m just very grateful and humbled by all the folks that came out on a Saturday morning to join American Legion Post 28 in honoring our brothers and sisters, our comrades in arms."

• In Parma, American Legion Post 572 will continue its tradition of conducting its Memorial Service that will include the playing of taps, a 21-gun salute and a flag-raising. “We’re asking anyone who wants to witness the little ceremony to do so from the parking lot while staying in their vehicles,” American Legion Post 572 Post Commander Tony Kessler told Cleveland.com. “With everything that’s going on, we didn’t want to see Memorial Day get swept under the carpet. To us veterans, this is probably as important (a) day as any that we have all year. We certainly want to make sure we show our respect.”

• In Parma Heights, Presbyterian Church’s 153rd annual Memorial Day service will be pre-recorded and will include Rev. Mark Juengel, Parma Heights Mayor Michael Byrne, American Legion Post 703 Vice Commander Bill Schiffer, a soloist and an organist. The video will be available on the church website and the city’s website.

• Members of American Legion Post 109 in Lisbon placed 600 flags on veterans’ graves at the Lisbon Cemetery in advance of Memorial Day.

Oklahoma

In Wagoner, American Legion Post 153 will provide an abbreviated ceremony in front of the Wagoner County Courthouse that will include American Legion Family members as guest speakers. A wreath-laying ceremony and the playing of taps will take place while social distancing is observed.

“The abbreviated service on Memorial Day will limit public exposure to one another, but still show we do care about those who have passed before us,” Post 153 Adjutant and Finance Officer Jim Marsh told the Tulsa World. “There is a feeling among all of us that our veterans should be honored in some way each year.”

Oregon

Because of social distancing rules, the 100th annual Corvallis Memorial Day parade will take on a different look this year. Rather than being fill with floats, horseback riders and other normal flag participants, this year’s version will feature only American Legion Post 91 Honor Guard and veterans marching down the street – very similar to the first parade in 1920.

“It was never our parade,” Past Post 91 Commander and former Parade Committee Chairman Dave Mason told the Bitterroot Star. “It’s always been about celebrating our veterans.”

Pennsylvania

• Warren Royer American Legion Post 234 in Souderton is conducting a virtual ceremony that will include around a dozen people, consisting of post board members and a color guard, observing social distancing, in Post 234’s yard on Main Street. The ceremony will include the reading of the names of those who lost their lives in war and of post members who died in the past year. “It's up to everybody to honor the people that made the ultimate sacrifice,” Post 234 Commander Audrey Halteman told the Montgomery News. “They can do that at their own house by putting their flag out and taking a moment to think about those people.”

• In Hawley, members of American Legion Post 311 placed flags on the gravesites of hundreds of veterans at the Queens of Peace Cemetery and the Green Gates Cemetery. All of the volunteers wore masks. “I used to do this as a Boy Scout and I loved it, so when I joined the American Legion, no hesitation,” Post 311 Vice Commander Gus Lind told WNEP. “It reminds me of all the guys who fought and died for our country.”

• In Elwood City, members of Post 157 are placing 2,000 flags on veterans’ graves at three area cemeteries.

Washington

In Oak Harbor, American Legion Post 129 is cohosting a Memorial Day event that will be recorded and then shared on YouTube, Facebook and possibly a local TV station. The event will feature speakers that include members of Post 129.

West Virginia

In Wheeling, American Legion Post 1 will conduct a Memorial Day, though it won’t be open to the public. Legionnaires will be wearing masks and adhering to social distancing.

“This day is a day that cannot be forgotten,” Post 1 Legionnaire Mike Doyle told WWLP. “And, it would have been (remiss) for us to not attempt to do something.”

Wisconsin

• In Seymour, Krause-Kraft-Mueller American Legion Post 106 has been involved in the annual Memorial Day program and parade. This year, American Legion Past National Vice Commander and current Seymour Veterans’ Memorial & Park Committee Chairman Russ Hanseter came up with an alternate plan. A dual Post 106-Auxiliary Unit 106 member prepared a Memorial Day message that will appear in the Times-Press along with an article Hanseter has prepared about Post 106’s involvement with Memorial Day in the past 99 years. The post’s American Legion Family also is placing flags on the graves of veterans in local cemeteries.

• In Onalaska, the annual Memorial Day ceremony conducted by American Legion Post 336 will take place at the Onalaska Cemetery's Veteran Memorial with no chairs for spectators, though those wishing to watch it can do so from afar.

• In Genoa City, American Legion Sponholtz-Deignan Post 183 will not have its traditional observation at Brookwood Elementary School, which is closed under an order from the governor. But the post is asking members of the community wishing to see the post’s Memorial Day observation park their cars facing Nippersink Creek near Fellows Bar and Grill. Speakers will be set up so everyone can hear the Memorial Day observation.

• In Oconto Falls, American Legion Post 302 will have 10 of its members wearing masks and standing six feet apart in front of the Oconto Falls Veterans Monument. The post is encouraging community members to drive by the monument at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day, where they will be saluted by Post 302’s members.

• In Suring, American Legion Post 283 plans to conduct Memorial Day programs consisting of the reading of names of those buried there who died during service, a firing detail, a prayer and the playing of taps at the seven cemeteries it normally visits. Members will practice social distancing.


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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.