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Legion Family Night at the 'drive-in'

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Looking for a way to provide something for the youth in Wasilla, Alaska, to do during the winter months that included interacting with their parents, Susitna Valley Auxiliary Unit 35 Historian Joy Lyons looked to the past.

On March 10, Lyons and Post 35’s American Legion Family hosted a drive-in movie night at the post for children ages 10 and under in the area. Approximately 20 children and their parents attended the event, which included snacks and a screening of the movie “Cars 3.”

Lyons, who is active with Post 35’s Legion Family Activities Committee, shared the idea there. “This was just something that I threw out a while ago, not sure what kind of response we would get,” she said. “The word got out, and there seemed to be a lot of interest. So we decided to go ahead and go with this for the children in interaction with the adults.”

Lyons said the idea behind the event involved some nostalgia. “Nowadays, I don’t think children really know what the drive-in is. How many drive-ins are left around the world, actually?” she said. “I thought it would be interesting and fun on both sides.”

Lyons created a flyer to advertise the event and also promoted it through the post’s Facebook page. The parents and children were given the option of either building a car for the child to sit in ahead of time or to arrive at the post early and construct one there. There even was a contest for the best car.

Lyons said she thought the car-building portion of the event “was a great thing for interaction because there’s other kids there, other parents there, more camaraderie. There were several people I had never seen there at the Legion, which was awesome. The parents helped make the cars (and) helped paint them. It was just great.”

Admission was $5, which included a juice box, popcorn, fruit candy and other snacks. And the reaction from the parents who attended?

“I had a lot of compliments about this, saying … ‘When’s the next one? What else can we do with our children?’” Lyons said. “We do things with our children. We have activities at Christmas. We have the Halloween party. But this was something different. So this might become something bigger that will happen again.”

Lyons praised fellow Post 35 Legion Family members Jane Larson, Kevin Lyons, Loren Estrada, Rick Jensen, Travis Rehard and Kim Jensen for their help in putting on the event. “We have a great family here at Post 35,” she said. “Now we’re thinking we need to do something for the older children. And on the Activities Committee there has been talk about wanting to do this again because the children did enjoy it so much.”


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A Register of Military Women

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A retired Army major general talks about preserving their “valuable and varied contributions.”

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Why Tim O’Brien Agreed to Write for ‘This Is Us’

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The acclaimed author of “The Things They Carried” talked to The Times about writing for Season 3 and how an all-volunteer military force changed the public’s perception of war.

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Share your Buddy Check stories

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Heading into The American Legion Centennial, National Commander Brett Reistad called on American Legion posts to perform a Buddy Check during the organization’s National Week of Calling around the Legion’s 100th birthday. Reistad wanted to use the Buddy Check as a way to reach out to members and former members who may need help.

American Legion posts, districts and departments responded. The Department of Colorado sent out an email to everyone in the headquarters post through the website Mailchimp. The email message asked how the member was doing and thanked them for their service and membership.

Through the emails, the department found out that one headquarters post member needed assistance with paying utilities. The Department of Colorado financially assisted the veteran through two department assistance funds and transferred his membership to a post near his home. The department also heard from a 93-year-old World War II veteran who just wanted to share his story, and another member replied simply thanking the department for checking in.

District 22 in San Diego, Calif., found veterans in need of food, transportation, pet therapy visits or just home visits all by making phone calls to hundreds of their members.

But we want to hear more. Share your Buddy Check stories by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or posting them on Legiontown. We’ll highlight some of your efforts via American Legion media.


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Events nationwide to honor Vietnam veterans

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Friday, March 29, is National Vietnam War Veterans Day. On this day, a special tribute is paid to the 9 million Americans who served during the Vietnam War era, to the 58,000 names memorialized on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., and to those who never received the recognition they deserved when they returned to America from war.

American Legion posts, Sons of The American Legion squadrons, Auxiliary units and Legion Riders chapters are supporting efforts to honor these veterans, along with other ceremonies held across the nation.

For a list of events honoring National Vietnam Veterans Day, visit www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Last March, American Legion Hardin Post 113 in Elizabethtown, Ky., held its first Vietnam veterans honor dinner to welcome home and recognized those who served and sacrificed. The post fed about 600 veterans and their families.

“It’s long overdue to honor that era’s veterans,” past Post 113 Commander John Saunders. Veterans were met with a receiving line of dignitaries that included U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Ky., Elizabethtown Mayor Edna Berger and officials from nearby Fort Knox, who thanked the veterans for their service. “It was very emotional for some of (the veterans),” Saunders said.

Post 113 is hosting the dinner once again on March 28. Saunders said local and state dignitaries will once again be represented, along with representation from Fort Knox and other veteran service organizations.

If your post is hosting a National Vietnam Veterans Day event, please share on www.legiontown.org.


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