By Stan Stuefloten
Did you vote? I’m sure you did. Don’t we live in a great country. Where else in the world, if you don’t like your boss, every four years you can fire him (or her) and get a new one?
The other thing that makes me proud of my country: Twice each year, we take time to honor our military personnel and our veterans. On Memorial Day, we honor those men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice and have gone onto the Post Everlasting.
Have you ever been to American Legion Post 148’s Memorial Day service? If you are a veteran, you should. We take the time to involve the young people of our community in placing crosses and flags and flowers on the graves of our veterans. On Memorial Day, we hold a short service to honor those veterans. The service ends with a salute to our dead and the playing of Taps.
The other day set aside to honor our veterans is Nov. 11, Veterans Day. Did you know that it was not always called Veterans Day? Originally called Armistice Day at the end of World War I, an armistice was signed between the allied nations and Germany. This was “the war” to end all wars. But as you and I know, this did not happen. We find ourselves once again at war.
The 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Ask any veteran and he will tell you that one of the things we hold dear is our Flag. The United States flag has been displayed all over the world any place where we have people serving on our behalf. So it was only fitting that on this bicentennial celebration that your American Legion in 1978 took on the responsibility of displaying the American flag in Eatonville, starting with Washington Street and gradually from there to where we are today. These flags are our own and maintained by Post 148. In 2012, there were 43 flags flown. With the restoration of Mashell Avenue, there will be a total of 50 flags to be flown.
These flags have always been flown in honor of all our veterans, both living and deceased. Due to the added cost of maintaining our flags, we are asking that when you attend our dinners, please help us by contributing whatever you like for flag support. Our flags are three foot by five foot, nylon. These flags are made in the USA for the American Legion. Each flag lasts about three years. One-third of the flags are replaced each year.
In 1997, the American Legion decided to honor our veterans with a spaghetti dinner, and it is still continuing to this day. Our dinner is on the second Tuesday of November, at 6 p.m. in the Rainier Building on the corner of Rainier and Carter. If you are in the military and in uniform, you are our honored guest, and the dinner is our way of saying thank you for your service.
If you have a flag that has seen better days, please do not dispose of it in the trash. We have people all over the world who do not understand what our flag means to us. Instead, take the time to stop at Town Hall and drop off your old flag, be it a state flag, MIA flag, or USA flag. We will pick it up. On June 11, 2013, the American Legion and the Boy Scouts Troop 604 will hold a flag disposal ceremony at Mill Pond Park at 6:30 p.m. Originally, there were only three organizations authorized by Congress to dispose of U.S. flags – the American Legion, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW). The American Legion has strict protocol as to how the flags are disposed. The Boy Scouts have their own protocol. So mark your calendar and come and join us for the ceremony.
Stan Stuefloten is a past commander of American Legion Post 148 in Eatonville.