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  • Thursday, November 09, 2017

    Dept. Commander: Put Veterans First

    By Rena Nessler, commander
    Department of New York

    Putting others first.

    That’s what veterans do – whether on the battlefield or at home in a community service project at the local American Legion Post.

    However, Veterans Day on Nov. 11 is a day that we put veterans first.

    Rena Nessler

    Commander Nessler

    And never again should we allow gratitude to be in short supply as it was some 50 years ago when veterans returned from Vietnam. Protestors treated them with great disrespect. Our military men and women couldn’t wear their uniforms without being heckled and spat upon.

    The irony is that the hecklers too often failed to realize that it was not the protestor who ensured our First Amendment rights, our freedom. It was the military veteran. The veteran who puts a lot of things first – country, mission,  brothers and sisters in arms.

    Before James McCloughan became a celebrated teacher and coach in Michigan, he was a combat medic in Vietnam. President Trump presented him with the Medal of Honor this year. His reaction was to note that “this medal is about love” – “a love so deep” among 89 men who fought on a hill beside him.

    This is what being a veteran is about – a love so deep. And it’s why I am joining National Commander Denise Rohan is encouraging our American Legion Posts to invite veterans and their families to dinner and learn more about our American Legion Families.

    There are many tangible ways to acknowledge the sacrifices of veterans and their families. But the easiest is to simply say, “Thank you for your service.”

    And my fellow veterans, I do indeed thank you. And welcome home!