The actions of military personnel help secure the safety, borders, and freedoms of U.S. citizens. Those who serve sacrifice without intentions or expectations of receiving anything in return. Nevertheless, there exist days for appreciation and solemn tribute for the service and bravery of military men and women, such as Veterans Day and Memorial Day.
However, the difficulties in the transition from active duty to veteran status are not made easier by days of respect and remembrance alone; support and services for veterans must also be tangible and readily available. In the provision of such things, organizations such as the American Legion are essential.
The American Legion is a non-profit organization chartered by congress upon the conclusion of World War I, and exists to provide aid and services to military veterans.
Dedicated to ensuring the continued welfare of veterans, The American Legion’s mission statement conveys the intent “[t]o enhance the well-being of America's veterans, their families, our military, and our communities by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.”
Courtesy American Legion Owen Barrett Post #110
According to its website
, American Legion membership currently stands at nearly two million. A small, yet important, portion of this membership resides in the Mt. Pleasant area, where veterans can access a wide array of services at the local post, which is officially named American Legion Owen Barrett Post #110
“Locally, we offer comradery—a place for veterans to hang out and be with other veterans,” says Rich Young, Commander of American Legion Owen Barrett Post #110.
Community and comradery are essential factors in ensuring mental and emotional vitality, and providing a place where veterans can simply gather and socialize is a significant part of the American Legion's operations.
“We provide resources and links to other organizations that help with unmet needs,” shares Young. “We do food drives and donations for veterans; we help with homeless veterans or those needing assistance with maybe paying a bill or two when they are in hard times.”
The proclivity of veterans to help their own is fully displayed in the services provided by the American Legion.
“Every day, veterans’ lives are touched by the American Legion through the programs offered, the fighting for veterans’ benefits and rights, and by veterans helping other veterans,” says Young. “We are out there every day in our community, placing crosses and flags on veteran gravesites, by honoring our fallen veterans with our Honor Guard and Color Guard, by participating in parades and other community events, hosting dinners and fundraisers, being on boards and associations, and at our Post facility where veterans and their families are always welcomed and supported.”
American Legion honors Veterans Day 2023 at the Mt. Pleasant Post. Photo: Courtesy American Legion Owen Barrett Post #110
Shared experiences help galvanize people of diverse backgrounds, which in the case of the American Legion, has led to a century-long legacy of unity and companionship.
This unity is then reflected in the community, as the benefits of the American Legion are not limited to what is internal, but also extend to the external community.
On this topic, Young says, “[Veterans] bring a lot of knowledge, experience, and training back with us from our time in the military. Most are happy to share that and volunteer in our communities to make them stronger and better.”
It is in this way that military personnel continue to serve their fellow citizens and strengthen the cultural integrity of the United States long after their days of active duty are over.
Specific examples of this can be found within American Legion Owen Barrett Post #110, as the Post hosts community events and fundraisers, provides volunteers to the community, and even sponsors two high school baseball teams. More information about the community impact of American Legion Owen Barrett Post #110 can be found on their website
The true value that resides in the services that the American Legion provides to veterans is unquantifiable, yet palpable.
These services are set to continue in perpetuity, as Young says, “We are fighting locally and in Washington D.C. for our veterans. We will always continue to honor our veterans, as we would not be the nation we are without our veterans and current active military.”
As for what non-military citizens can do to help the efforts of the American Legion, Young encourages the community to “acknowledge our veterans, thank them, and participate in our fundraisers, dinners, and events.”