To the editor:
On Nov. 11, at 11 a.m. the Athens TGM187 American Legion held a remembrance ceremony at the Post on Second Street, Village of Athens. As with many Veterans’ posts in the Twin Counties, ours was cold, and damp, just as it was in November 1918, when the World War fighting ceased.
Members began with a salute to the colors, a Pledge to the Flag of the United States of America, a silent tribute to those who passed, not just because of the anniversary date, but in tribute to ALL American veterans. This same ceremony was performed, in various ways, throughout the Twin Counties, as well as around the world. We are the American Legion, largest Veterans’ organization representing our veterans, not only here in America, but with Posts around the world.
After we retired our Post flags, we noted that at parades, civic functions, unmentioned sports groups, our flag appears no longer appreciated as it once did. Our Post provided flags throughout our Village and Town of Athens, but most do not seem to see them. We have become so “I want to be politically correct,” that persons just do not notice them.
Our flag is a symbol, born of war, and fought for while being trounced by other nations, maybe not in the physical material, but the beliefs and desires that we Americans of all colors and backgrounds have given so much for.
In Athens, we are proud to have Alfred VanSchaack, a member of the American Legion Post 187, one man who was put in a situation on D-Day, France, that he would remember for the rest of his life. He was a working man, not the best of times in our own country, and knew he could make a difference. Now, a quiet man of 92 years, he came back home and went back to work, raising his family, helping others and had experienced what others could only imagine. One of the saving graces, I would think for Al, was seeing his American flag, on home soil, greeting him and ensuring him and others that they fought for a true and good cause.
Somehow, we’ve lost that honor and respect for our colors, the red of sacrifice, the white of purity and the blue surrounding all represented States, small white stars, as well as commonwealths and islands of America. The price of these endeavors have taken monetary and personal strife, death of millions and the strength of nations, but still hold our flag dear, our America, land of the free, because of the brave.
Commander George Greiner