AMVETS in Action

Category: News

Mansfield Veterans Post Collecting Christmas Cards for Troops

By Emily Dech | RichlandSource.com

MANSFIELD — When filling out Christmas cards this year, consider sending season’s greetings to the troops.

AMVETS Post 26 Ladies Auxiliary is collecting Christmas cards, hoping to exceed last year’s amount (7,000 cards) and send at least 10,000 cards to troops all over the world.

“AMVETS Post 26 and other organizations throughout the nation are very strong supporters of our veterans and troops who are deployed, whether stateside or overseas, and we just want to send them greetings during the holidays and show that they do have support at home,” said Julie Wilcox, AMVETS Post 26 Ladies Auxiliary president.

Cards must be signed, unsealed and have a return address in the upper left corner (senders may use the AMVETS Post 26 address if they prefer). Homemade cards are acceptable but must be placed in an envelope. Do not address the cards to any one person or unit. No glitter, 3D or loose items are allowed in the envelopes.

Wilcox, who has a son in the military, believes the cards are well received, noting that senders sometimes get thank-you notes in return.

Schools within Richland County, local churches and organizations all chip in to show their support. Wilcox said Clear Fork School District submitted just under 2,000 cards last year.

“I’ve gotten cards from people as far as North Carolina,” she said.

Cards may be mailed or dropped off at AMVETS Post 26 c/o Julie Wilcox at 1100 W. 4th St., Mansfield, 44906. AMVETS Post 26 will send the cards to a volunteer organization in Missouri, which will distribute them to troops across the globe.

The deadline to submit a Christmas card is Nov. 1. For large quantities of cards, pick-up can be arranged if in a near distance of Mansfield.

People may also drop off blank cards that AMVETS Post 26 will arrange to be signed before being mailed.

AMVETS Post 26 is accepting monetary donations to help cover the cost of shipping. Wilcox said it costs about 12 cents per card.

For more information contact Julie Wilcox at 419-631-5150.

Original Source: Mansfield veterans post collecting Christmas cards for troops

Vets, Community Remember Fallen Soldier

Original story appeared on Connections Sun Journal

LISBON FALLS — Saturday, September 17, 2016 the Durham AMVETS and Lisbon American Legion Riders mustered a force of 100 motorcycles for a ride in remembrance of Staff Sgt. Thomas “Tommy” Field of Lisbon.

Field was killed in 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia, an event brought to life in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

Field, a graduate of Lisbon High School, was the third of three sons born to Kimiko and Frederick “Popeye” Field, who was a respected member American Legion Post 158.

Field joined the U.S. Army upon graduating. It didn’t take the Army long to recognize his natural abilities, and he was assigned as a helicopter crew chief to the Night Stalkers, attached to a special forces unit that would eventually deploy to Somalia. When he died in Mogadishu, Field was defending his wounded crew members.

The motorcycle riders arrived at St. Anne’s Cemetery and dismounted to pay their respects.

Chaplain Lewis Craft commenced the ceremony with a prayer.

“If Tom was standing here today, he’d be extending his hand to shake yours,” said older brother Fred Field. “Thank all you AMVETS, vets and friends for being here and remembering Tom’s sacrifice.”

The last speaker was American Legion Commander Glenn Simard, who spoke about Tom Field’s love of country and ultimate sacrifice and responsibility to country today.

Original Source: Vets, community remember fallen soldier

Riverside/Delran Veterans Donate School Supplies

By Rebecca Carlbon | BurlingtonCountyTimes.com

Members of Riverside/Delran Post 251 American Veterans (AMVETS), a veterans’ service organization, recently distributed school supplies to needy children of past and present service members, as well as many community members.

The supplies were donated to AMVETS by Dollar Tree via their Operation Homefront program, which supports military families through their Back-To-School Brigade.

The project was pioneered by Post 251 commander Ramon Villanueva and programs director Suzanne Milecki.

The group is also donating to local schools so that teachers will not have to purchase school supplies out of their own pockets.

AMVETS Department of New Jersey’s new home office is now at 611 Beverly-Rancocas Road, Willingboro. AMVETS provides a wide variety of veterans informational services, veterans helping veterans in the community. For more information, call 609-526-4356.

As one of America’s leading veterans service organizations with over 250,000 members, AMVETS has a history of assisting veterans and sponsoring numerous programs that serve the country and its citizens. Membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who is currently serving, or who has honorably served, in the U.S. armed forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves.

Original Source: Riverside/Delran veterans donate school supplies to families and schools

AMVETS Gear Up for Crazy Water Festival Car & Truck Show

By David Mays | MineralWellsIndex.com

The 37th Annual Crazy Water Festival Car & Truck Show will again be an area of much activity and buzz, showcasing newer and older model classic and vintage vehicles, from Model T’s to muscle cars.

AMVETS Post 133 once again is organizing this year’s car and truck show, benefitting Tommy’s Angel Tree. Please bring a new, unwrapped toy that will be delivered to the Angel Tree project and December. It will be wrapped and delivered to a participating child the week before Christmas.

The show will take place on N.W. 6th Street the day of the Oct. 8 festival and is open to all rods, customs, muscle and classic cars, trucks and specialty vehicles.

Registration is 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., with judging from 11:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Awards will be handed out at 2 p.m.

Awards will go to first and second place in each class. There will be Best of Show–People’s Choice, Best Paint and Best Engine contests as well.

Entry fee is $20,or $25 the day of the festival. For more information, contact Clay Roundtree at 940-284-1833.

Sponsors for this year’s car and truck show are Double H Tire, Lee B. Downs–Veteran’s Service Officer, Auto Pr –Jeff Smith, Titan Bank, Elliott & Waldron Abstract Co., Circle R Cleaners and Farmers Insurance–John Shelley.

Get your motors running and head out with your custom rod, classic car or vintage truck to this year’s festival.

For more information about this year’s festival go to crazywaterfestival.org, or download the PDF here.

Original Source: AmVets gear up for Crazy Water Festival Car & Truck Show

Golfers Tee Up for AMVETS ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ Event

Original story appeared on WCTV Eyewitness News

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) — Golfers hit the greens on Monday to raise some green for a local veterans group.

60 people played in the 5th annual AMVETS ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ event at the Golden Eagle Country Club. Congresswoman Gwen Graham was also there and spoke at the luncheon.

The event serves as the annual fundraiser for Post 1776. In years past, the proceeds have gone to support services like Honor Flight, the Florida Vets Foundation and ROTC programs at area schools. This year, most of the $13,000 raised by the golfers and 30 event sponsors will help provide an electronic bell tower at the Tallahassee National Cemetery.

Nationally, AMVETS has a program funding two bell towers at cemeteries annually. However, Post 1776 2nd Vice Commander John Folsom tells WCTV that instead of waiting for help, they want to get the ball rolling on raising the money in case it takes a few years for them to be selected.

“The consensus among the AMVETS themselves is that the bell towers provide music to the survivors spouses, the kids, the visitors to the cemetery. It makes it a much more solemn place to visit, and we’re going full speed ahead,” Folsom says.

Folsom says the total cost of the electronic bell tower is around $80,000 and they hope funding on the state level will help provide some of the money too.

If you’d like to make a donation to the AMVETS, you can do so by mailing it to:

AMVETS Post 1776
PO Box 12631
Tallahassee, FL 32317

Original Source: Golfers tee up for AMVETS ‘Veterans Helping Veterans’ event

We Will Never Forget Them

Ceremony honors P.O.W./M.I.A.s

By Dave Gossett | The Weirton Daily Times

POW MIA You are not forgottenSTEUBENVILLE — Several military veterans and their families gathered under a sunny sky Friday afternoon at the Historic Fort Steuben in Ohio to remember the approximately 80,000 American servicemen and women who remain on a list of prisoners of war and missing in action from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Seven men and women shared the duty of reading the 90 names of servicemen whose remains had been found and returned to the United States for burial in the past year.

“Marine 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Jr., 33, of Knoxville, Tenn., Marine, missing in action from World War II,” Bill Demjan, a Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission member and a member of AMVETS Post 275 read.

Demjan would read 11 names, concluding with Army PFC Frank Worley, 21, Wilington, N.C., soldier, missing in action from the Korean War.

The 30-minute ceremony at the Historic Fort Steuben flagpole began with a prayer by Bill Smythe, American Legion Post 573 commander.

“Help us find the remains of those who died and if they are sill imprisoned, please bring them home,” Smythe prayed.

And the reading of the names continued with Jefferson County Veterans Service Commission Executive Director Schelley Brooks.

“Army Cpl. Martin A. King, 18, Harrisburg, Pa., soldier missing from the Korean War,” she said.

“Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Vernon T. Luke, 43, Green Bay, Wisc., USS Oklahoma, sailor from World War II,” intoned Jim Morelli of the Veterans Service Commission.

“Army Air Forces 1st. Lt. Leonard R. Farron, 23, Tacoma, Wash., airman, missing in action from World War II,” continued Darla Hoagland.

Matz Malone of the AMVETS Post 275 read 10 names during the ceremony and finished with, “Marine PFC. James B. Johnson, Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Marine from World War II.”

Historic Fort Steuben Executive Director Judy Bratten sat on a nearby bleacher, her head bowed in prayer, as the names were slowly read.

“U.S. Army Cpl. Charles A. White, 20, New Lexington, Ohio, soldier, missing in action from the Korean War,” said Frank Hoagland.

AMVETS Post 275 Commander Dan Wilson thanked the crowd, “for honoring these young people who gave their lives for our country.”

“We will never forget them. God rest their souls,” stated Wilson.

“The National Day of Recognition for P.O.W.s and M.I.A.s commemorates those who gave their lives for our country and the fact our government sends out missions every year to find these remains. Those missions scour the countryside and interview people who may have seen an aircraft go down. There are remains and equipment scattered all over Europe and the South Pacific,” explained Wilson.

“These people are everywhere and when the remains are found, the government identifies them and brings the remains home to their family for closure. The least we can do is read the names every year in these services,” declared Wilson.

“Army Air Force 1st Lt. Robert L. McIntosh, 21, Houston, Texas, airman, missing from World War II,” recited American Legion Post 557 Commander Holly Lewis of Wintersville.

“What really strikes me when I look at this list are the ages of these soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. They were all so young and gave the best years of their lives to serve their country,” remarked Wilson.

Original Source: We will never forget them

AMVETS, 40&8 Pay Tribute to 9/11 Victims

Original story appeared on The Cleveland Daily Banner

Clockwise from top left: U.S. Marine veteran Marilyn Nagel of AMVETS Post 13; U.S. Navy veteran Daniel Koob of AMVETS Post 13 with his grandchildren Lila and Ronnie Womac, U.S. Air Force veteran Mack Crawley, and Deddrick Crisp of the 40&8;
Clockwise from top left: U.S. Marine veteran Marilyn Nagel of AMVETS Post 13; U.S. Navy veteran Daniel Koob of AMVETS Post 13 with his grandchildren Lila and Ronnie Womac, U.S. Air Force veteran Mack Crawley, and Deddrick Crisp of the 40&8;
A 9/11 ceremony was held on Sept. 11 at Garden Plaza of Cleveland.

The state commanders of AMVETS and the 40&8 organizations paid tribute to the 2001 attacks of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in a rural field in Shanksville, Pa. All of the veteran organizations were represented at the event as was the Cleveland Elks Lodge.

Daniel Koob, Commander of AMVETS Post 13, was the speaker of the program.

He spoke of not only the Americans who died but also of the citizens of 90 different countries, who were also killed in the attacks.

He spoke about Timothy Maude, the Three-Star general who died that day in the attack on the Pentagon. Maude was the highest ranked military person, who died that day.

He talked of the heroism of the passengers who tried to stop the hijackers on the United Airlines Flight 93 and spared the country from even further destruction.

There was a flag presentation ceremony in which flags from colonial times to present were honored.

Mike Dickey, 40&8 member, presented on what each of the folds for the American flag means.

The group then reflected on what has happened in the military since the 2001 attacks. More than 10,000 military and residents have been killed and over 56,000 injured.

Honor was also given to the five military members killed on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga. Taps was played to honor all of the military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to the United States of America.

Original Source: AMVETS, 40&8 pay tribute to 9/11 victims

Sanger Man Helps Veterans and Anybody Else in Need

By Mike Nemeth | Sanger Herald

George Willhoite can bust up a group of guys better than most.

And he’s got a unique outlook on life that has earned him a reputation beyond the American Veterans organization Post 98 where he serves as commander. Willhoite won the Team AMVETS Department of California AMVET of the Year Award for 2016. He received a plaque that says, “In recognition and appreciation for your impressive accomplishments and contributions towards service to veterans, posts, your community and the department.”

“Good guy, George,” said Mike Viar, a post member who’s known Willhoite since their kids were little. “He’s funny. He puts a lot of time into AMVETS. He’s dedicated.”

Dewayne Bolin agreed. Everybody, it appears, had a story about Willhoite.

“Good man,” Melvin Campbell said. “He’s for the people. He bends over backward to help people.”

Willhoite said he and Campbell are “brothers from different mothers” so brother Melvin may be a little biased. A number of stories were mentioned involving Willhoite, often humorous. There was one about something called apple pie and the case of the missing four hours.

But that’s only part of who he is.

Willhoite, 64, a former Marine who promotes, assists and champions the issues and lives of those who have served in the armed forces, earned his stripes in life. He didn’t come by anything easy, and like most he experienced his share of challenges. He grew up with six brothers and sisters and a mom who raised them on her own.

He met the woman of his dreams early.

Sandra was a bit younger. But when he noticed her, he paid attention. Willhoite said they started talking at a party. “After that,” he said, inhaling and then exhaling for an extended emphatic pause. “Nobody else.”

The two have been together “going on 43 years.” And Willhoite said, “My wife’s my best friend.”

He worked for Detroit-based Fruehauf Trailer Corp. in Fresno, which manufactured and sold truck trailers, for years. “We built everything,” he said. “Tanks, beds. I became foreman in the van line.”

Then Willhoite got sick. At first, he didn’t know what was wrong. He was hospitalized twice, for 11 days. “They kept me pretty drugged up,” he said. “I was in a wheelchair for awhile.”

The diagnosis was multiple sclerosis, which the National Multiple Sclerosis Society defines as an unpredictable often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. “The cause of MS is still unknown,” the society said on its website. “Scientists believe the disease is triggered by as-yet-unidentified environmental factor in a person who is genetically predisposed to respond.”

Most are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50.

“I was sitting in the hospital when they told me,” Willhoite said. “I didn’t know what it was.”

Then still while in the hospital room, a public service announcement aired on the TV. It was Paul Newman at the behest of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society extolling viewers to give money to try and halt the disease. Alongside Newman, who may have been the nation’s most famous actor at the time, was a guy in a wheelchair.

Willhoite said it affected him. “I didn’t want to be that way,” he said, referring to the guy in the wheelchair. “I was scared. But my wife came in and stayed with me.”

He got angry, too, taking out some frustrations on the hospital room.

The Newman spot, which is identified as coming out in 1982, can be found on YouTube. It shows Newman, an avid race car enthusiast, roaring around the track. About midway through the 20-second spot, he gets out of his car and says, “My teammate Larry and I race against the clock just like Ron here. We want to beat multiple sclerosis before it beats him.”

Through willpower or maybe his positive outlook, Willhoite has managed his symptoms. He rarely lets on anything is awry. But the disease is always there.

“If I talk a lot, I slur (my words),” he said.

He couldn’t work anymore. “Sometimes I would fall,” Willhoite said. “I still do that. It was something I was dealt. And I’m going to play it out.”

Willhoite joined the Marine Corps in 1969. “I wanted to go to Vietnam,” he said. Before he could ship overseas, he developed a skin infection so severe the doctors restricted him from travel. They said he’d die if he was exposed to those jungle conditions. He said he argued with his doctor, an officer. It didn’t matter.

Willhoite wanted to follow his father into the service. John Willhoite fought bravely during the Battle of Peleliu, which took place between September and November 1944. Peleliu was a tiny coral island in the Pacific occupied by Japanese forces. Maj. Gen. William Rupertus predicted a battle of four days, but Japanese fortifications and stiff resistance caused such ferocity that the casualty rate exceeded all other amphibious operations during the Pacific War, according to Wikipedia.

The elder Willhoite, who stood maybe 5 feet 3 inches tall, won the Silver Star. He took out a Japanese defensive fortification, or pill box, saving other soldiers who were pinned down. “A San Diego paper called him ‘the pint-sized Marine,'” George said.

At first, Willhoite didn’t think he belonged to the cadre of veterans in Sanger. He hadn’t seen combat. But the guys at AMVETS said he belonged, that he was one of them. Willhoite is also a member of the American Legion.

He is a strong proponent of the group now. And he uses his position as commander to to as much good as possible.

“We’re all about this community,” he said.

AMVETS Post 98, which has about 100 people in its membership, for years has had an annual hot dog luncheon, feeding about 700 people. The post also has its fish fry the first Friday night of every month through September. Members also do funerals (“a lot of them”) for fallen veterans, participate in parades and do the stuff few see. Those less visible jobs include taking care of and being there for veterans with post-traumatic stress, counseling those going through hard times or helping families cope. One veteran, who “lives on basically nothing,” is on Willhoite’s rounds. He brings the man food and checks in on him.

The AMVETS also provide a forum and clubhouse for members to get together and talk about whatever’s on their minds. For instance, just outside of the well-maintained facility at 812 K St., is a big concrete fire pit that’s clearly labeled to not use as a trash bin. It’s perfect for the occasional camp fire. And it, too, has a story.

The pit is really a massive concrete culvert or culvert coupling left over from a construction job. Amvets could have it if the post could arrange to haul it out. It must weigh as much as a bull sea lion, 1,000 pounds or so. Willhoite and his fellow members engineered it, getting it delivered.

“We can figure it out one way or another,” Viar said.

And that’s how they get things done. Everybody has expertise.

“These guys,” Willhoite said, and he paused, probably thinking of the guys, what they do and what it means to him. “I can call them up. I can get 12 to 20 guys here to do anything.”

Then he added, “If they don’t have doctor visits. We’re all getting older.”

That’s Willhoite. He injects humor whenever possible.

“You should see him on the road,” said T.J. Willhoite, grandson and former Sanger High football and baseball standout. T.J. was referring to road trips with the family. “We’re laughing the whole way there. He’s making jokes.

“He always makes sure somebody has a smile on their face. He’s been like that since I was a kid.”

George and Sandra had three kids, George Jr., Travis and Jessica. He has a bunch of grand kids. Seth, 10, can often be found at his side, helping out, being his shadow.

Willhoite said the group is working to attract younger members and expand its family. He said anybody is welcome any time. He mentioned a particular instance when a couple of kids, who said they were being chased by neighborhood bullies ran into the fenced lot looking for a way out the back. Amvets member Mike Ortiz (the creator of Sanger’s world-famous chili dog) gave them protection.

Ortiz follows the creed, Willhoite said: “We fought once for you. We’re still going to protect you.” And those kids didn’t have to worry. Any Amvet will go to bat for anybody in need, Willhoite said. Plus about 90 percent of them probably carry a firearm, he added.

Willhoite encouraged any veteran to join his group. All that’s required are discharge papers, or DD214, and $40.

The reporter can be contacted by email at nemethfeatures@gmail.com or by phone at the Herald at (559) 875-2511.

Original Source: Sanger man helps veterans and anybody else in need

AMVETS Remember 9/11 and Honors Local Heroes with Ceremony

By Katrina J.E. Milton | Daily-Chronicle.com

Nearly 100 luminaria bags were on display and the names written on each read aloud during the Honoring Our Heroes event Saturday at AMVETS Post 90 in DeKalb.
Nearly 100 luminaria bags were on display and the names written on each read aloud during the Honoring Our Heroes event Saturday at AMVETS Post 90 in DeKalb.
DeKALB – Fifteen years after the tragic events of 9/11, Jim Furry of DeKalb wanted to not only find a way to remember the victims and first responders of the terror attacks, but also give recognition and thanks to local heroes.

Furry is the adjutant for American Veterans Post 90. Furry helped AMVETS plan and host the Honoring Our Heroes event Saturday at its post, 421 Oak St. in DeKalb.

“There is an MIA/ POW day, and 9/11 is now Patriots’ Day, but there is no day to celebrate the police, fire and health care workers that make sacrifices and put their lives at risk every day,” Furry said. “We wanted to take the day and dedicate it to local heroes and patriots, to say we appreciate and thank them.”

The event began with a Heartland Mobile Unit blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a free hot dog lunch. Event attendees also could stop by reception tables with information about AMVETS, the DeKalb County Veterans Assistance Commission, veteran benefits, KishHealth Systems and DeKalb police and fire department programs.

At 2 p.m., the honor ceremony began with the Pledge of Allegiance and a moment of silence for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. After the moment of silence, a luminaria ceremony was held. Before the ceremony, luminaria bags could be bought for $4 each. The names of nearly 100 personal heroes, including John Wayne and Bob Hope, were written on the bags and read aloud during the ceremony.

After the luminaria ceremony, plaques were given to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, the DeKalb Fire Department, the DeKalb Police Department, NIU’s Department of Police and Public Safety and KishHealth System, part of Northwestern Medicine.

DeKalb Mayor John Rey, who presented a plaque to members of the DeKalb Police Department, said the event was an opportunity to appreciate local heroes.

“Heroes are individuals that exhibit selflessness and willingness to put their life and safety on the line to secure the freedoms we enjoy,” Rey said. “We were able to recognize those heroes and their actions.”

The ceremony concluded with a rifle salute by the AMVETS Honor Guard. After the ceremony, the band Stroker Red performed from 3 to 6 p.m.

DeKalb Fire Chief Eric Hicks accepted the fire department’s plaque and said he was honored and humbled by the event.

“It’s really an honor to be recognized, especially when veterans and the public come together to thank us for doing our jobs,” Hicks said. “It’s humbling to be appreciated and thanked by the community.”

Original Source: AMVETS remember 9/11 and honors local heroes with ceremony

Flags to be burned, and that’s OK

By Jeff Ward | TheStarPress.com

Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 3rd Class Thomas Farquharson salutes after placing the last decommissioned U.S. Flag into a fire pit during a flag decommissioning ceremony (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jordan/Released)
Cryptologic Technician (Networks) 3rd Class Thomas Farquharson salutes after placing the last decommissioned U.S. Flag into a fire pit during a flag decommissioning ceremony (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Matthew Jordan/Released)
This weekend, an American flag will be burned.

No. It’s not someone testing the outer fringes of free speech. In this case, it’s done out of respect and dignity for the American flag. Actually, thousands of American flags will be retired this weekend during ceremonies by the Sons of American Veterans (AMVETS) Squadron 12 of Muncie.

The idea for the ceremonies began 16 years ago, explained Robert Hammett, who has been part of the Muncie activities since the beginning. “We had no idea what we were doing,” he said light-heartedly. The Muncie post inherited the task from a post in Hartford City. That first ceremony was a small affair, attended by about 10 people, mostly friends and families.

It’s now grown into a two-day event that will begin this Friday night with the Ladies Auxiliary hosting a “Luminary Night.” Luminarias can be purchased in honor or memory of a veteran and they will ring a memorial at dusk and the names and branch of service will be read aloud. All ceremonies this weekend will take place at the AMVETS post 7621 N. Ind. 3, north of the Water Bowl. The public is encouraged to attend.

Hammert, a past national commander for Sons of AMVETS, said they’ve tried to add something new every year. Evidently, it’s working, or at least word is spreading that this is a good — and honorable — way to dispose of worn out American flags.

Because there will be many flags on hand, upward of 6,000. A ceremonial flag will be retired — that’s the preferred term instead of saying “burned,” at 2 p.m Sunday. Don Finnegan, also a past national commander for Sons of AMVETS, said it almost becomes a full-time job in the summer. There’s a box behind the post that the public can use to drop off flags, but many also come from a Veterans Administration facility in Fort Wayne. Over the past 15 years, 28,576 flags have been retired. Ashes from the flags are placed into a 1,000-gallon concrete vault buried in the flag memorial behind the post.

The flag-retirement ceremony is just one of the events planned. Besides the Luminary Night, a Signal Fire will begin at 3 p.m. Saturday. Two Honor and Remember flags will be presented to relatives of two Muncie men who died while serving, or as a result of serving, in Vietnam. Army Spec. 4 Larry G. Patterson was killed in action on May 10, 1968. His older brother, Spec. 4 Robert L. Patterson, died March 15, 1997, the result of exposure to Agent Orange, a chemical used to kill jungle vegetation and expose the enemy during the war.

The numbers of POW-MIA from World War I to today will be read. Joy Brinduse of the National League of Families and a former Muncie resident will be the featured speaker. At the end of the ceremony, a signal fire will be lighted and tended for 24 hours to symbolically guide service members home.

Although not directly tied to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, this weekend’s ceremonies are a good way to honor the men and women who have served (and continue to serve) in the military to keep our country safe from those who would do us harm.

Jeff Ward is a news columnist for The Star Press. Email him at jward@muncie.gannett.com with tips, suggestions or story ideas.

Original Source: Flags to be burned, and that’s OK