|Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,|
Memorial Day, for most of us, will be different this year. The meaning, however, does not change.
I’m calling on The American Legion Family to encourage communities far and wide to pay tribute to our nation’s fallen heroes at dusk May 25, Memorial Day, by lighting candles of honor and placing them on front porches. Such a display will remind everyone that our resolve to honor those who served before us will continue even as social-distancing measures limit our ability to perform traditional Memorial Day remembrances.
We must adapt and overcome the pandemic in order to pay our respects to the true meaning of Memorial Day.
The manner and placement of the candles of honor are up to each individual. If possible, I recommend using a front porch as a visible reminder of the price that was paid for freedom.
Color options for consideration could include: A red candle to remember the blood shed in battle for the protection of our freedoms. A white candle to keep our POWs/MIAs ever in our thoughts and prayers as we await their return home A blue candle to salute the memories of those who made it home but are no longer with us. However you choose, whether it’s one candle or three, I ask that photos of those candles be shared on social media, tagging The American Legion National Headquarters and using the hashtag #candlesofhonor so our message will reach families everywhere. An additional option is to show your gratitude by having each member of a family or group hold up a sign spelling out a message of Memorial Day. WE SHALL NEVER FORGET would be a good choice.
Also, this year, remember our Virtual Memorial Day page on legion.org/legiontown. Please share with our national audiences the story of someone who served in the Armed Forces who holds special meaning to you. Share who you will be remembering this Memorial Day on social media using hashtag #VirtualMemorialDay.
And let’s not forget that Friday is National Poppy Day. While our poppy distribution plans may be different this year, it’s also an opportunity to innovate. The American Legion Auxiliary National Headquarters is planning a Facebook watch party May 22 at noon EDT. American Legion Family members across the country are also planning other low-contact ways to remember the fallen and keep faith with the disabled through the symbol of our official flower, the red poppy.
No matter how we remember this year, the most important message we need to send is that we will never forget.
For God and country,
James W. “Bill” Oxford
The Battle of Iwo Jima (February 19-March 26, 1945) was a major battle in which the United States Marine Corps landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II. This five -week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the War in the Pacific.
The battle is remembered primarily by Joe Rosenthal’s iconic photograph of the raising of the U.S. flag on top of Mount Suribachi by six U.S. marines.
After the heavy losses in this battle the strategic value of the island became controversial. It was useless to the U.S. Army as a staging base or a flat base for the U.S. Navy. However, Navy Seabees rebuilt the landing strips, which were used as emergency landing strips, for the B-29 bombers.
According to official records, the 36 day assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties including 6,800 dead . Japanese combat deaths numbered three times as many. The Medal of Honor was awarded to 27 U.S. Marines and U.S. Sailors (14 Posthumously).
582 Causality Profiles on file there 16 Georgians included. This does not reflect all the numbers of causalities of the battle.
1. USMC, CPL William Hugh Avera-GA-MIA
2. USMC, PFC Burch Eugene Caudill-GA-MIA
3. USMC, PFC Leroy Cook-GA-MIA
4. USMC, PVT Emmett Obe Lee Eaton-GA-MIA
5. USMC, PFC Charles Ross Johanson-GA-MIA
6. USMC,TSGT Roy Baxter Mason-GA-MIA
7. USMC, CPL Richard Fred Roberts-GA-MIA
8. USMC,PFC Earl W. Stafford-GA-MIA
9. USMC, Capt I.J. Williams-GA-MIA
10. Navy, S2C Paul W. Bell-GA-MIA
11. Navy, F1C Harold W. Butler-GA-MIA
12. Navy, F1C Ralph M. Chambley-GA-MIA
13. Navy, CEM John T. Rabon-GA-MIA
14. Navy, CK3C Julian G. Smith-GA-MIA
15. Navy, Lt CDR Mercer M. Thorpe-GA-MIA
16. Navy, ST2C John H. Thomas-GA-MIA
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. is a sobering tribute to the 58,267 men and women who died during the conflict.
For those who cannot visit the memorial, there is an equally impressive online version. You may visit the online version at www.virtualwall.org
This website is an on-line version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. with a personal memorial for each American military casualty of the Vietnam War. The memorial pages have photographs and personal tributes sent to us by relatives and friends.
THIS IS HALLOWED GROUND
Why you don’t walk between the Colors
Between the flags that proudly fly
Let no one dare to stand
For here our Fallen comrades lie,
We call it , Hallowed Ground
A symbol yes, but mark at will
Here let us ever humbly pause;
In memory of the ones who fell
In fighting for our sacred cause.
On sea or land these buddies died,
Some lie beneath a foreign soil,
In graves caressed by winds and tides,
In spots unknown to all but God
And so this place is Hallowed Groud.
And it shall be forever blessed,
As though it were a graves mound
Beneath which gallant heroes rest.
Be ever watchful, Legionnaire,
of these two flags which signify,
That one should guard this spot with care.
Where our departed comrades lies,
And , if man should dare to tread,
This spot where lie our gallant brave,
He desecrates those noble dead,
As, tho he walked upon their grave
So, embrace your obligation, Legionnaires
And protect the Hallowed Ground,
To honor those who served and died and there never to have been found.
During our February general meeting, the Georgia chapter of Quilts of Honor presented a quilt to John Hawes.
The mission of Quilts of Honor is to bestow a universal symbol and token of thanks, solace, and remembrance to those who serve in harm’s way to protect and defend our lives and freedoms.
Quilts of Honor are made by the loving hands of countless volunteers who wish to thank those who have served and to honor their service and sacrifice.
John is a very active member of Post 29. As early as age 18, John served with distinction in Vietnam, as part of the Army 5th Cavalry. He is a recipient of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. John has remained active, serving veterans both through American Legion Post 29 and as Commander of Chapter 576 (Alpharetta) of Military Order of the Purple Heart.
John was also recognized with a Certificate of Honor from Post 29 Commander Walt Cusick. Thank you John!
February 4 is the official birthday of the organization known as United Service Organizations or USO. The USO has been a fixture in military life for more than seven decades. Founded in 1941, the agency is a private, not-for-profit organization working in cooperation with the Department of Defense.
The next USO birthday will be on Tuesday, February 4, 2020.
The USO has a congressional charter and receives funding through donations, philanthropy, and corporate support. More than 12 thousand volunteers work with the USO at locations worldwide including military bases, airports, and major metro areas.
The USO, compared to similar non-profit organizations, has a unique and complex history. It actually has roots in six separate organizations including the Salvation Army, the YMCA and YWCA, Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board.
These six agencies combined resources to begin the USO, and troops fighting in World War Two were the first to benefit from the existence of the organization.
A Brief History Of The USO: World War Two And Beyond
When the USO was formed, organizers wanted program events and services with an eye on boosting troop morale while promoting American involvement in World War Two. As these plans unfolded, the idea of a traveling USO show performing at forward deployed locations would not only prove successful, but would at times be the main activity some associated with the agency.
These traveling shows were held in China, Russia, Burma, and elsewhere during the war; the same kind of USO shows were offered to troops in later conflicts including Vietnam and Korea.
About seven thousand performers took part in the early USO traveling shows and featured some of America’s greatest star power at the time; the late comedian Bob Hope would eventually become synonymous with the USO to some thanks to his continued efforts with the agency; his legacy stretches all the way to the first Gulf War where Hope did his final USO tour.
The USO Shuts Down After World War Two
History is full of lessons about the nature of impermanence; after Axis powers surrendered at the end of World War Two, some felt the USO mission had been fulfilled and it had finished the job it set out to do. In the wake of the surrender of both Germany and Japan, the USO was disbanded.
But in 1949, America was seeing the beginnings of what would come to be known as the Cold War; the six founding organizations responsible for creating the USO got together once more to revive the agency and begin serving U.S. troops. But funding issues kept the agency from continuing; the USO fell dormant again until the advent of the war in Korea. The Defense Department needed the USO once more; $13 million was earmarked for USO operations as a result. Once the war was over, similar funding issues plagued the agency. Yet again, it went dormant until Vietnam operations started.
Vietnam was a new beginning of sorts, but the agency learned that peacetime operations would have the USO keeping a lower profile. At the end of the 1970s, the USO received a government charter; over the coming decades a greater emphasis would be placed on adding quality of life improvements for military families while retaining the entertainment and morale boosting activities it was famous for.
Today the USO offers help for military families including being an emergency contact resource for troops stationed overseas; if there is a death in the family or other crisis, family members can contact troops stationed overseas via the USO and get financial assistance with travel back home to attend funeral services, be present for sick or injured loved ones, and more.
Celebrating The Birthday of the USO
During the month of February, the USO itself will organize activities and events to honor its long history, and military bases all over the world-more than 200 locations-will have local activities to show their appreciation. From Darwin, Australia to Afghanistan, there are likely to be hundreds of individual local celebrations.
Audrey McNeal, the winner of our Oratorical Contest on January 18, represented us proudly at the District Contest Saturday, taking first place once again. Audrey is a senior at Harrison High, a Girl’s State and Nation alum in 2018, and a member of the National Honor Society. She is a member of Youth Leadership Cobb, and has published a book of poetry,” A Lake of Stars.” She intends to become the U.S. Secretary of State someday. Talk about a resume!
Roy Lantz, Oratorical Chairman
A piece of freedom is no longer enough for human beings…unlike bread, a slice of liberty does not finish hunger. Freedom is like life. It cannot be had in installments. Freedom is indivisible–we have it all, or we are not free.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we enter 2020, we enter the 20th year of The Horace Orr News.
Our monthly newsletter is a beautiful publication, with valuable information. A huge thank you and congratulations are due to everyone who has worked on this award-winning newsletter over the past two decades.
Through the magic of technology, our distribution is larger than ever. We hope you enjoy the digital version. And for those old-school folks who prefer paper, well, simply visit the post. We always have physical copies on hand.
The Atlanta Vietnam Veterans Business Association is hosting a symposium on the factual history of the Vietnam War. This important event will be held Saturday November 2nd, from 9:00am until 2:30pm at the Atlanta History Center.
Full details on the the flyer (click here to download).