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Letters to the Editor


VA Health Care is a Big 'Thank You for Your Service'

All my life I've tried to be self-sufficient, and arranged for my medical needs through insurance provided by employers and policies I bought myself. People suggested a number of times that I apply for Veterans Administration Health Care, but I was too busy to fill out a multi-page form.

And I did nothing valiant in my two years of U.S. Army service, including a tour in Vietnam, so I honestly felt unworthy of this benefit.

But recently the insulin I need to treat my diabetes had become way too expensive &endash; hundreds of dollars for about five weeks' worth. The time had come to put aside some pride and get into the VA system.

Doreen Lafferty, a Westerville Legion and VFW member (and Army veteran), works for the Franklin County Veterans Service Commission and has an office at the Wiley Chalmers VA Center in Columbus.Two years ago she gave us Legionnaries a presentation on how she helps to sign up any non-VA member, and what benefits were due us. I made a feeble attempt back then to go see her.

Now I got serious and went to her office, taking my DD214 and a few other documents, including the new, simple two-page application form. She put all the info into the VA's computer system, including an application for disability due to some medical conditions, in about a half hour. She said I'd hear back within two months.

In about six weeks I got two calls from the VA, one notifying me that I had been accepted for health care and the other to set up an appointment for a "baseline physical exam." That happened the following week at the VA center on Stelzer Road, and cost me about three hours and no money.

I saw a nurse who asked some questions, took my vital signs, gave me flu and pneumonia shots, and turned me over to a pair of nurse practitioners.

The NPs asked more questions about my medical history. They said I could get prescriptions for a co-pay of $9 each &endash; a very good deal, I thought. Then they noted that I had been to Vietnam, and one left the exam room to do some checking. She returned and told me that due to my service over there and possible exposure to Agent Orange, some of my prescriptions would be provided at no charge.

I walked out of the place with a big paper bag full of blood-sugar testing supplies and a month's worth of insulin, courtesy of Uncle Sam. And the people were all polite and professional. Talk about "thank you for your service"!

In the days since, I've been regularly testing my blood and injecting insulin as I should, and my sugar count has come way down. VA reps have since called several times to set up appointments for further testing and consultation with a physician.

I feel physically better and emotionally relieved that I'll be saving a bunch of money, especially as I head toward retirement. I'm grateful for the VA.

If you're a military veteran and haven't yet checked into your VA eligibility, I suggest that you to do it soon. I should've signed up years ago.

Tom Berg
Young-Budd Post 171, Westerville



Department Treasurer Pleasant announces
candidacy for 2016-17 2nd vice commander

Comrades of Ohio, I would like to take this time to announce my candidacy for the High Office of 2nd Vice Commander for the Department of Ohio. I am a 20 year veteran of the Air Force. I have served the American Legion faithfully at the Post, County, and District levels.

For the past three years, I have served on the Department Finance Committee, last year as the Committee Chairman. I have the support the full support of my Post, County, and the Thundering 3rd District.

I am a dedicated legionnaire. Throughout my career as a legionnaire, I have always believed in doing what is right for the American Legion. I ask for your support and vote at the 2016 Department of Ohio Convention.

For God and Country

Stanley A. Pleasant
Candidate for 2nd Vice Commander



Klostermeier announcing NEC candidacy


As Mid-Winter conference is now over, I've been on the road visiting as many District Conferences as I can. I talked with many of you at Mid-Winter hoping to get your support as I am a candidate for the high office of Alternate National Executive Committeeman for the years 2016-18.

As noted before "Bring On Bob" is back and looking for your support again. I would be honored to serve the Ohio legionnaires on the National level. I hope to visit all of the districts at least one time before the Department Convention in June. We will be near Cleveland this year. I do have the support of my family, my post Adams Township Post 553, The Lucas County Council, and The Great First District.

I was extremely proud to serve as your Department Commander in 2011-2012, and look forward to serving you once again. I had your support in the past and hope I can count on it again. Remember never underestimate the power of a smile.

Thank you and God Bless All,

Bob Klostermeier
Past Department Commander 2011-2012



Grand Rapids Post thanks supporters
of Operation Comfort Warriors benefit dance


On November 14, 2015 the Grand Rapids American Legion Post 232 in Grand Rapids, Ohio, was host to the 8th annual Doug McCabe memorial dance, to benefit Operation Comfort Warriors.

The dance was once again a great success thanks to the efforts of the American Legion, the Sons of the American Legion, the Legion Auxiliary and all the volunteers who made the event a possible. We would like to thank everyone for their generous donations as this year we were able to raise over $7,800 in total contributions. Special thanks goes out to the all who attended the event and to the Five O'Clock Rush band who provided the entertainment for the evening. We are already looking forward to next year's dance on the Veteran's Day weekend.



Tontogany Post honors past commanders


In the main hall of Lybarger-Grimm American Legion Post 441, Tontogany, Ohio hangs the portraits of three of our distinguished members: Art Euler was Commander of The American Legion Department of Ohio from 1969-70; Walt Chambers was Commander of The Sons of The American Legion Department of Ohio from 1979-80; Mary Lou Lehnert was President of the Auxiliary, Department of Ohio form 1980-81.

My question is &endash; Is there any other American Legion Post/Auxiliary in Ohio (U.S.) who has had the honor of having a Department Commander of the Legion; a Department Commander of the S.A.L. and a Department President of the Auxiliary? Keeping in mind that Tontogany is a town of no more than 375 residents and at it peak; Lybarger-Grimm American Legion Post 441 had 285 members. Quit an honor for a SMALL town Legion Post.


Dick Conrad, Commander
Lybarger-Grimm American Legion Post 441
Tontogany, Ohio



Twenty-One Gun Salute
or Three Volley Salute?


The 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized of the customary gun salutes that are performed by the firing of cannons or artillery as a military honor.

The custom stems from naval tradition, where a warship would fire its cannons

harmlessly out to sea, until all ammunition was spent, to show that it was disarmed, signifying the lack of hostile intent. As naval customs evolved, 21 guns came to be fired for heads of state, or in exceptional circumstances for head of government, with the number decreasing with the rank of the recipient of the honor.

While the 21-gun salute is the most commonly recognized, the number of rounds fired in any given salute will vary depending on the conditions. Circumstances affecting these variations include the particular occasion and, in the case of military and state funerals, the branch of service, and rank (or office) of the person to whom honors are being rendered.

Today the national salute of 21 guns is fired in honor of a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President and President-elect of the United States. It is also fired at noon of the day of the funeral of a President, ex-President, or President-elect. Gun salutes are also rendered to other military and civilian leaders of this and other nations. The number of guns is based on their protocol rank. These salutes are always in odd numbers.

The 3-volley salute is a ceremonial act performed at military and police funerals as part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard. It consists of a rifle party firing blank cartridges into the air three times. The custom originates from the European dynastic wars, where the fighting ceased so the dead and wounded could be removed. Then, three shots were fired into the air to signal that the battle could resume.

A rifle party usually has an odd number of members, from 3 to 7. The firearm used is typically a rifle, but at some police funerals, shotguns or handguns are used. The party usually stands so that the muzzles are pointed over the casket. However, if mourners are present near the grave, the party stands some distance away (often recommended at least 50 feet) so as to not deafen the attendees and minimize the disturbance. If the service is being performed indoors, the firing party stands outside the building, often near the front entrance. On the command of the NCO-in-charge, the party raises their weapons and fires three times in unison.

Modern United States military parties use M1, M14 or M16 rifles. The use of blank cartridges means these weapon's semi-automatic gas action will not function, requiring manual cycling of the next round between shots.[2] Some parties equip the rifle with a blank-firing adapter, which eliminates this step from the drill after the first shot, though this is seen by some as less traditional. Similarly, the M1 and M14 are generally preferred over the current issue M16 because the appearance of these older rifles is more traditional and the charging handles are more easily operated in a dignified, ceremonial manner. Sometimes, other guns are used, usually by non-US militaries.

The three-volley salute is not to be confused with the 21-gun salute (or 19-gun or 17-gun, etc.) which uses a battery of artillery pieces.



American Patriot


What is a patriot? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a patriot as "A person who loves and strongly supports or fights for his or her country". Wikipedia says, in part, "Patriotism is, generally speaking, emotional attachment to a nation which an individual recognizes as their homeland".

Patriotic American citizens follow the United States Constitution, which begins with "We the People of the United States, ----", and the Bill of Rights. Patriots also stand up and face the American flag, remove their hat and place their right hand over their heart, when the Star-Spangled Banner (the National Anthem) is being played or while saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

Quotes from several famous Americans are as follow: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free" and, "If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under" - Ronald Reagan. "I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him" and, "I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given to man. All the good of the Savior of the world is communicated to us through the Book" - Abraham Lincoln. "My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" - John F. Kennedy. "When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty" and, "My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy! - Thomas Jefferson. "America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand" - Harry S. Truman. "Where liberty dwells, there is my country" - Benjamin Franklin. "America is another name for opportunity. Our whole history appears like a last effort of divine providence on behalf of the human race" - Ralph Waldo Emerson. "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it" - Mark Twain.

National Patriot Day in the United States is on September 11th to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.

In a Lee Greenwood song, it says "And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died, who gave that right to me". For the freedoms we all enjoy, our thanks go to the men and women serving, or have served, in all branches of our military. All gave some. Some gave all. We salute you! God Bless America.

Ronald W. Crabtree, Commander
American Legion District 10, Division 2