More that unites than divides
By Bryce Berginski
The last Monday in May is a time to reflect on the men and women who risked life and limb, said by the legion post commander and speaker for the 2019 Memorial Day program Monday at the Memorial Hall.
In his remarks, Clarence Larson American Legion Post No. 23 Commander John Gustafson spoke of the late National Guardsman and North Ogden, Utah, mayor Major Brent Taylor and his call for unity.
Taylor wrote in a Facebook post in late October 2018, which also commented on Afghan elections, “As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America.”
Taylor served multiple tours of duty in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was killed in attack in Kabul in early November.
Gustafson said that labels and politics become irrelevant when one storms a beach with machine gun fire all around or receives a letter with the words “We regret to inform you”.
Gustafson said that in every conflict since World War II, over 82,000 personnel wound up missing in action, and that since the American Revolution 1 million have made a “supreme sacrifice.”
“(Their) bravery (and) commitment to duty will never be forgotten,” Gustafson said.
Gustafson said the country continues to lose heroes everyday, with an estimated 20 veterans/service members’ lives lost due to suicide.
“We must ensure these individuals are never forgotten,” Gustafson said.
– Legion Post Chaplain Josh Siegler gave the invocation and benediction.
– Rugby High School band members played musical selections.
– Immediately following the program was a wreath laying and Taps to honor the deceased, along with a rifle salute.
Legion’s 100th anniversary
March 2019 marked the 100th anniversary of the American Legion’s founding.
In March 1919, a group of men, including Theodore Roosevelt Jr., met in Paris and discussed concerns, including no veterans’ services and how to provide care for unemployed and disabled veterans returning stateside.
The Legion grew from those concerns and was chartered by Congress with 3,500 posts.
One hundred years later, the Legion grew to have 12,000 posts and over 2 million members.
The Clarence Larson American Legion post has over 130 members currently.
The post will conduct an unserviceable flag disposal ceremony at 6:30 p.m. on June 21 at the Pierce County shop on Country Road. The public is welcome. Unserviceable flags can be dropped off until then at the Memorial Hall.
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