They walk in your neighborhoods, stroll down the grocery store aisles with you each week looking for specials, cheer from the sidelines at sports events and pray with you in your local houses of worship. Some are older than others, age has given some distinguishing silver hair and robbed others of their locks. Some are bent over from the affects of old age but everyone of them stands tall when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited saluting as best they can.
If you haven’t guessed yet they are the men and women who survived preparing for combat and/or experienced the horrors of war and returned to Shelton and surrounding areas to marry, raise their families, start businesses, serve in local, state and federal government and who continue to give back to the country and its citizens whom they love and for whom they were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice.
I was again privileged to be invited to Shelton’s own American Legion Post 16 to celebrate a the visit from Mike Helm, U.S. Army — Ranger (Retired-Vietnam) who is the current American Legion National Commander.
The post members, their families, the Sons of the Legion, Legion Auxiliary and other supporters provided everyone with a memorable evening and a delicious meal. The Post 16 building is not fancy but very well cared for. It is nestled on the hill just above Exit 13(S) of Route 8.
It holds the high ground in downtown Shelton and is part of the nation wide American Legion Posts who can boast having over 3.5 million members. You may have played in or watched a “Legion” baseball game at Riverview Park in Shelton.
The legion sponsors scholarships and other programs to assist veterans and their family members who may be struggling after they retire from the military.
We will be able to cheer for some of Post 16 members on the morning of Monday, May 25, and honor them as they march in the 2015 Shelton- Derby Memorial Day Parade. The men and women members of Post 16 and American Legions across the country should be honored on that day and every day for their individual commitment to this country in times of war and peace.
They are all real American heroes, but few if any will every admit it to you. We can’t thank them enough for their sacrifice an their dedication to our safety and the American Dream they believe in and support whole heartedly.
The National Commander spoke simply, truthfully and directly of the American Legions support for drone attacks on ISIS to either remove them from our planet or more practically to isolate and keep them from invading and doing the unthinkable to those whom do not believe in the ISIS ideals regarding the practice of religious freedom.
The Commander also remarked that the legion supports legal immigration to the U.S. along with securing our country from easy access from foreign invaders and for the U.S. government to correct the VA Medical programs that did not provide quality medical and psychological care for veterans on a timely basis across the country.
Membership for the auxiliary or for those whose fathers were veterans is very inexpensive and Post 16 is always looking for new members. Stop at the post, or call them at 203-924-9887 if you would like more information about donating to their many charities or more importantly to join Post 16.
And lets not forget to honor the men and women who have passed and those who are stationed all across the globe to protect us and other defenseless countries 24/7. They deserve our support, prayers and the best equipment and training we can provide for them. You can support the American Legion where every we reside and keep our promise to those who served that we wouldn’t ever forget their service and sacrifice. Please remember to say thank you to a veteran for their service to our country and for the sacrifice their families make when they are away from home.
Anthony F. Simonetti is the First Ward Alderman in Shelton.