The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans. The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation and volunteerism. The organization belongs to the people it serves and the communities in which it thrives.
The American Legion Greene County Post 128 is a local post in Stanardsville, part of the Virginia “Fighting” District 13. Post 128 was established in 1933 and normally meets the first Wednesday of each month at 6.30 p.m. at our building located at 636 Madison Road in Stanardsville (now being done virtually until further notice).
Post 128 conducts events and fundraisers to support the Memorial Day ceremony, Memorial Day weekend Flags on Veteran’s Graves, the 4th of July Parade, Boy & Girl’s State, Holiday Gifts for Veterans at the Veteran’s Home and the Greene County Boy Scouts.
Memorial Day (previously, but now seldom, called Decoration Day) is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering, honoring and mourning the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May.
On Memorial Day, the flag of the United States is raised briskly to the top of the staff and then solemnly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains only until noon. It is then raised to full-staff for the remainder of the day. Across the United States, the central event is attending one of the thousands of parades or other events held on Memorial Day in large and small cities, to include Stanardsville. Most of these feature marching bands and an overall military theme with the active duty, reserve, National Guard and veteran service members participating.
In 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres in the First World War, Lt. Col. John McCrae, a physician with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, wrote the poem, “In Flanders Fields.” Its opening lines refer to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldiers’ graves in Flanders. In 1918, inspired by the poem, YWCA worker Moina Michael attended a YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference wearing a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed over two dozen more to others present (the YWCA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all). In 1920, the National American Legion adopted it as their official symbol of remembrance.
Organizations at all levels across our great nation have had to make extraordinary decisions to combat the threat to life from the outbreak of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), and our responsibility to those most at risk is no less than anyone else’s. Our number one priority is the safety of our members and residents of Greene County.
Accordingly, the American Legion Post 128 has decided to postpone this year’s events in May until such time as it’s safe to hold them. Members will not be attending any Memorial Day events in the county, nor will they conduct the Poppy Donations or “Flags on Veterans Graves” on Memorial Day weekend.
These events may happen later in the year, and/or in another form. We will be monitoring events, policies and guidance at the national, state and local level and will continue to adjust our scheduled events accordingly.
We would like to suggest some ideas of how to honor the sacrifice of those who died serving our country while still maintaining social distancing:
- Pause at 3 p.m. for a moment of silence.
- Pray for the fallen and our nation.
- Display the U.S. flag.
- Listen to a veteran’s story.
- Brush up on American history.
- Craft your own Memorial Day poppy.
- Write letters to soldiers and their families.
- Put together care packages for soldiers.
Lastly, we sincerely hope all residents of the county stay safe and healthy, and strongly encourage social distancing whenever possible.
American Legion Post 128