February 4, 2022

American Legion’s ‘Americanism Month’ promotes community spirit

Members of the American Legion recognized the 80th
anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in a ceremony at
the Windham Veterans center on Dec. 7. The Post 148 Honor
Guard of Dick Graves, Dick Drapeau, Craig Pride, Keri
Karsten and David Rendall joined Bob Clarke and World
War II veteran and former Post Commander Carroll McDonald
in placing a wreath in the Memorial Garden at the Veterans
By David Tanguay
Special to The Windham Eagle

February is American Legion Americanism Month, and this has become an annual article reflecting on one of the basic tenants of the American Legion.

This year I believe it increasingly important that all Americans reflect on the concept of Americanism. As defined by the American Legion, “Americanism, one of the American Legion’s four pillars, is the love of America, loyalty to its ideals and institutions, allegiance to the American flag, willingness to defend the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and a desire to advance the blessings of liberty to future generations.” During the 1960 National Convention in Miami, Florida, February was established as The American Legion National Americanism Month.

During this annual observance, each of its post members and all local citizens are asked to reflect upon what it means to be an American and to rededicate themselves to the principle of “100 percent Americanism.”

The Legion’s Americanism Pillar is divided into major subsets including Youth programs, Flag Programs, Support for Veterans, and Community Outreach.

Youth Programs: The Legion family supports many youth activities including: the annual Boys State and Girls State programs. This program immerses local high school juniors in a week-long process of local and state government.

After a brief hiatus due to the COVID-19 situation, the Department of Maine will be offering a coed version now called Dirigo State and will be open to local junior boys and girls. The local Legion Field-Allen Post and Auxiliary will provide full funding for the experience (except transportation). Selections for Dirigo State will be in April with the program being held in June at Thomas College.

The Field-Allen Post annually selects a male and female graduating student who exemplifies leadership in their school and the community. They are presented a leadership “School Award” medallion, pin and certificate and are also provided a modest scholarship for use in their education. 

Flags Around Town Program: Many of you have seen the American flags on the utility poles on the highways and byways of Windham. In 2005 the Post undertook an Americanism program in collaboration with the Town of Windham to place 100 U.S. flags on the utility poles in town. In May of this year, the Post will be undertaking that same goal for the 17th consecutive year.

Flags on the cemeteries. Windham has 31 recognized cemeteries in the borders of the town. Of those, 21 are known to have interned in them the remains of our fallen veterans. Some of the   cemeteries are large, such as Arlington in North Windham. Others are of moderate size such as Chase (Highland Cliff Road) and Smith-Anderson (lower River Road with many colonial era and Revolutionary War vets buried there). Most are small.

The same holds true in late fall with another program. Since 2013, around Pearl Harbor Day, the Posts and the community come out to place simple evergreen wreaths with a red-white-blue bows on each of the veterans’ graves, as a tribute not unlike Wreaths Across America. This year’s Everlasting Gratitude Wreath Event was held Dec. 4 with about 970 wreaths placed on veteran’s graves.

Other programs: The Field-Allen Post also offers additional support for veterans and national security. Two of these programs are blood drives and food drives. Nationally, the Legion supports more Red Cross Blood drives than any other organization in the country. Since last January, the Post has collected an average of 30 units each over eight events at the WVC.

The Post sponsor a highly successful Vet Coffee program each Wednesday at the Windham Veterans Center from 9 to 11 a.m. weekly with about two-dozen vets in attendance.

The Legion’s Americanism programs are a year-round opportunity for our members to serve fellow veterans, local youth, and their community. More often than not they do not get the credit that they are deserve. If you see a veteran, thank them for their service. If you see a Legion Member, thank them as well for all they do in your community.

If you want to be part of the team? Contact the Field-Allen Post Adjutant Dave Tanguay at 207-892-1306 or see any Post member. <

No comments:

Post a Comment