American Legion members and volunteers prepare and package meals for the area’s senior citizens on Thanksgiving Day 2020.
Photo by Steve Ranson.
American Legion Post 16 has two tasks to commemorate on Saturday.
First, the post members will participate in the city of Fallon’s annual 9/11 ceremony, and then later in the day, the post is recognizing its 100th anniversary when an American Legion charter was signed on Sept. 11, 1921.
“We will be participating in the 9/11 ceremony at city hall with the American Legion Ceremonial Team and a representative holding flags representing the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary,” said Paul “Pip” Valentin, vice commander of Post 16.
At 2 p.m., Post 16 begins the family barbecue celebration with food, music, raffles and games. “Commander Jack Lazenby will conduct a small remembrance speech before the cake-cutting at the American Legion around 3 p.m.,” Valentin added.
The barbecue buffet costs $10 per person, and there will be a dunk tank, tricycle races, face painting, darts, horseshoes and pool. The Fallon post is located at 90 N. Ada St.
Post 16 has been involved with the Churchill County community since its inception. Most recently, though, the post has provided an important mission during the holidays. Post members, sailors from Naval Air Station Fallon and community members volunteer their time every Thanksgiving and Christmas by cooking, packaging and delivering turkey dinners. Post 16 helps the county’s Meals on Wheels program to deliver meals for the senior citizens.
During Memorial Day, post members and the ceremonial team participate in observances at the Churchill County Cemetery, the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Cemetery and The Gardens to honor veterans who have died.
The American Legion Auxiliary, a separate part of many posts, also provides an invaluable service by volunteering in the Churchill County community. The auxiliary includes spouses, mothers, daughters, granddaughters and sisters of the country’s war veterans.
Valentin noted other programs such as the Legion’s Boys State that begun in 1935. The training objective focuses on the structure of city, county and state governments.
According to the American Legion website, “Boys State activities include legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs.”
Valentin added the Legion offers a Legacy Scholarship, a needs-based scholarship that fulfills a financial gap remaining after all federal and state educational grants and scholarships available to an eligible applicant have been used.
“Each needs-based scholarship provides up to $20,000 in aid for undergraduate or post-graduate college. Recipients may reapply for additional annual awards up to six times,” the Legion website states.
Since its founding in 1919, the American Legion has been open to veterans who served in both world wars, the Korean War, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Gulf War and War on Terrorism.
The 2019 signing of the Legion Act recognized all veterans since World War II as being “wartime veterans” and opened Legion membership for all those who served during periods that were previously not considered eligible.
According to the military service organization, “The American Legion believes that membership in the organization should be extended to all U.S. military personnel who served on active duty during the hostile events that are not seen as a period of war.”
The Legion notes its current membership is nearing 2 million in more than 13,000 posts. Posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.