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A Day of Honoring Our Hero Veterans
John Lenotte, Commander American Legion

A Day for Honoring our Hero Veterans John Lenotte Commander, American Legion   This year Veterans Day falls on a Saturday. Many people do not work.  I hope that all veterans will come out and participate in their local parade. If you can’t march I am sure you can get a ride in one of the vehicles.  In Haverhill, for example, the American Legion, VFW and AMVETS typically have vehicles in the parade. Bring your own car and join us.   And I also hope that the public will turn out to watch the parade.  Bring your children.  Show them some of what patriotism is about.

We do not honor or glorify war.  Remember that Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day in celebration of the ending of World War 1. That  war was thought to be the end of all wars.  Unfortunately it was not.   Let us remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, those who are mentally and physically damaged from the ravages of war.  And remember those who still serve and are in harms way.   The soldier is not Republican or Democrat.  The soldier is a Patriot,   obeying orders to preserve our way of life. Let us honor their service.

Whether or not we agree with the politics of the current conflict, we need to support the troops.  There are several organizations here in Massachusetts that do so.   And they need our help.   But let us not forget the families of the troops, whether the soldiers are active duty, Reserve or National Guard.  

The military has set up family support networks which are very helpful.  Like most Americans these families are proud and may not always ask for the help that is needed.  It may be as simple as getting a lawn moved or a driveway plowed for a pregnant wife.  

It may be some financial assistance.   Some of the families are very much in need because the spouse who stays behind now has to be the disciplinarian and the decision maker.  Who do they turn to when the roof leaks, the car needs repair?   The Legion and other veterans groups have help available but their funds need to be replenished.  And what about the children who have lost a parent in this conflict?   

There is so much need.  Let us turn our energy into helping these families who while they are at home, share the burden of the sacrifices of the troops who are away from home.

On a larger scale, the federal government talks about how much more money they have put into the VA budget.   But they fail to point out that much of it is still discretionary money.  That means it can be used elsewhere if the administration deems so.   And there are a lot more veterans who are getting older and need help along with a whole new crop of veterans returning from the current conflict.   We all need to urge the Congress to make the VA budget one of mandatory funding.  And they will only do so at our urging. Let us be vigilant of the needs of those who proudly serve our nation.

Massachusetts veterans and more specifically those in the American Legion have an extra reason to march proud this Veterans Day.  The National Commander of The American Legion is Paul Morin from Chicopee, MA.  Since the founding of the Legion in 1919, Paul Morin is only the third National Commander from MA. 

The others being Daniel Doherty in 1937 (deceased) and John P. “Jake” Comer in 1987.  It is an honor to have a native son from Massachusetts occupy the highest office in the American Legion.  Let us all be proud as Legionnaires and as veterans.  

John Lenotte is the American Legion Commander, District 8/Essex County and Adjutant, Post 4, Haverhill

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The November, 2006 Edition of the Valley Patriot
The Valley Patriot is a Monthly Publication.
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