Saturday, January 24, 2015
Yankee Doodle Band Kicks Off Mid-Winter Banquet
ALBANY –The Yankee Doodle Band – or as Band Director Owen Johnson put it, “America’s oldest American Legion band” – performed a rousing patriotic concert to kick off the Saturday evening banquet festivities at the Mid-Winter Conference
The courtyard concert featured an array of tunes from “Hogan’s Heroes” to a medley of Armed Forces theme songs.
Formed in 1928, the band is from Fort Crailo Post 471 in Rensselaer and actually consists of two bands – a concert band and a marching band.
The banquet attracted a crowd of 480 Legion Family members and featured remarks by Dale Barnett of Georgia, leading candidate for national commander.
The American Legion changes people’s lives, he asserted, including his own – being encouraged to apply to West Point Military Academy after attending Boys State. The West Point graduate is a veteran of Desert Shield, and says he was a recipient of the Legion’s support for returning vets.
His theme as national commander, he said, would be, Duty – Honor – Country. “That’s what The American Legion stands for,” he said, whether it’s “helping a homeless vet” or “mentoring youth.”
Department Commander Frank Peters drew rousing applause when he said he was proud to be among “the most dedicated Legionnaires in New York State.”
A few others offered brief remarks:
— Albany County Director of Operations John Evers welcomed the Legion Family to the area on behalf of County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. Evers, who is a member of the Sons of the American Legion (SAL), praised the Legion for “constantly working for veterans benefits.”
— SAL Detachment Commander Charles Depot offered heartfelt thanks for veterans and their service, as did Auxilliary Department President Diane Gerber. National Auxiliary President Janet Jefford struck a similar tone, noting that she has “come to realize there is no better place to live than in the United States,” and that the sacrifices of veterans have assured “our freedoms.”
Department Adjutant Jim Casey served as master of ceremonies.