NORTH BRANCH POST # 85
By Glenn Pierce, Adjutant
Membership Meeting July 14th 7 PM
SAL Meeting July 21st 6 PM
Rick Hals, Commander – Greetings to all. The Legion has reopened and things are slowly starting to come to life, after a long shut down I hope it will come faster than its looking right now. On to better news, the County VSO officer, Brian Brown, will be at the Legion Hall every 3rd Tuesday. There will be our regular July meeting on the 14th, hope to see you there. I hope everyone has safe and fun 4th of July weekend.
Michelle Still, Auxiliary President – What a summer we are having! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. The Chisago County Relay for Life is August 1st. Of course, this is a “virtual” relay, there will be no walk or activities. However, the American Legion Family has a team again in order to raise money to support this cause. If you would like to help our team raise funds for the American Cancer Society, you may mail your donations to our team captain, Dianne Klund. Her address is 9878 375th St., North Branch, MN. Checks should be made payable to American Cancer Society. Thank you for your generous poppy donations. One of our members has been sewing face masks. She is donating 1/2 of the price she receives to our poppy fund and has donated over $700, so far. Thank you, Priscilla! FYI, our next meeting is scheduled for September 8th. I will keep everyone posted. Have a safe
and happy Independence Day!
Orv Otterness, Service Officer – To be eligible for VA benefits, the veteran needs to serve 180 consecutive days or if they are a combat veteran, they don’t need 180 consecutive days. This applies to National Guard or Reserves. This does not include basic training. For more information contact Bryan T, Brown, Chisago County Veterans Officer, 313 N Main St., Center City, MN 55012, Phone is 651-213-5680.
Randy Koivisto, 1st Vice Commander – Cemetery headstone project update: The Sunrise cemetery headstone project is up to the maintenance phase now. Attached is a set of photos of one of the civil war era stones that has been treated with the product D/2, which is the same chemical that is used at the White House, and Arlington National Cemetery. The first photo was taken in 2017 when the project was started, and the last was taken this a couple of months ago. The chemical is spayed on at full strength once a year, then each time it rains, some of the crud washes away. Some of the stones are leaning and need to be set straight, and that will be a follow on project. All work must be approved by the cemetery board of directors. I was able to get approval to expand the program to the Kahbakong cemetery located on Hwy 95, just outside of Taylors Falls. Fellow member, Myles Gunia, has joined me in purchasing and applying D/2. One early Saturday morning, we spent three hours on brushing the excess crud from the stones, then applying the chemical. Due to the larger number of stones to be worked on, I wasn’t able to document all of them, as was done at Sunrise, but I have a sampling of some. The expectation was that we would find similar types of stones to work on, as at Sunrise, but
we both were amazed at what we found! The Civil War veterans buried there were not just from Minnesota regiments, but they were from Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois units as well. We also found many WWI veteran’s graves, and one in particular was a member of a Flying unit, so he served when our Air Force was in its infant stages. Grave markers were also found from survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Normandy, and Iwo Jima. Unexpectedly, we discovered the grave site of a Desert Storm Navy A-6 Intruder Navigator that had been lost while flying off of the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. There is a tribute stone to the Sea Bees, and there is even a veteran Merchant Marine buried there. I had this vision of what it would be like if all of those fallen veterans would be able to stand next to their graves in their uniforms. What a sight that would be!
Finally, Thank You to Myles for joining the effort! It’s an honor to help bring back these monuments to a respectful condition.
National Commander, James W. “Bill” Oxford
Dear American Legion Family Members and Friends,
Some of the surviving World War II veterans are suffering a great injustice. And it is up to The American Legion to persuade our lawmakers to correct this. It’s the least we can do as we honor the courageous men and women who braved tyranny and saved democracy during the dark days of the early 1940s.
While most of these veterans are using VA services, some are not. Through no fault of their own, these veterans were dropped from the VA system or are being subjected to means testing. In 1996, Congress passed the Veterans Health Care Eligibility Act, establishing means testing for access to VA for some veterans, while also exempting all Spanish American War and World War I veterans from that criteria. Now it’s time to do the same for The Greatest Generation.
That is why The American Legion National Executive Committee approved Resolution 3 at the 99th national convention in Reno, Nev., which calls for supporting legislation to amend the 1996 act “to extend the exemption from a means test to World War II veterans.”
But nothing has changed in the three years since that resolution was approved.
That is why I am calling on you today to help recognize these heroes with actions far more meaningful than words.
We can never truly thank the Greatest Generation enough for what they did in the Pacific and European theaters. But one way we can express our gratitude to those still living is to right this wrong on their behalf. Join me in contacting your congressional representatives today to tell them to open VA to all World War II veterans.
Thank you for your support of our American Legion programs, legislative agenda and, of course, our World War II veterans.
Stay safe, my friends and comrades.
Glenn Pierce, Gaming Manager – Our Bingo program is up and running with reduced seating to meet the social distancing standards. Thursday’s at 6:30 and Saturday’s at 6 PM. Pulltabs as well as the linked Bingo offer a variety of games and prize potential. Mondays and Thursday’s we will be having a Meat Raffle offering $20 gift cards from various North Branch Area businesses. Stop in for a visit and stay safe.