The American Legion in the Year 2013


By: John Lenotte – American Legion – January 2013

Here we are again, another year has passed.

And for the short term, a fiscal crisis has been averted. At least depending upon which news analyst you read or listen to. Congress still has a lot of work to do and I hope you will let your representative know what you think about all of this!

Most of us have gone back to creating New Year resolutions that we will barely keep. I have my usual ones: Lose weight, eat more healthy, exercise more, spend less and save more. Along with those I will include spending more quality time with friends and relatives. The time just passes by so quickly. We will all be a year older at some point in 2013.

We also reflect on successes and failures of the last year. How can we do better? Personally, I was witness to and party to some job fairs for veterans that could have been better publicized, organized and received better participation. Some of this was the result of some many similar events throughout the state and even here in Essex County. Lack of communication among veteran service providers and organizers seemed to be part of the problem. Hopefully this will be better in 2013. There is a large need for veterans and their families to be employed and a need from employers to hire workers. There is much work being done at the state and national level to recognize military training and experience toward required certifications. If you are a veteran in need, you should contact your local veterans agent who can point you in the direction of agencies that can assist you. If training is needed, it may be available.

Each year there is a memorial service called the 4 Chaplain’s service. It recognizes 4 US Army Chaplains who gave up their lives while their troop ship the USS Dorchester sunk in the North Atlantic waters off Greenland on February 3, 1943. The four Chaplains on board, two Protestant pastors, a Catholic priest and a Jewish rabbi, were among the first on deck, calming the men and handing out life jackets. This year the service in Essex County will be conducted at Temple Emanu-El on Main Street in Haverhill. The program will begin promptly at 1pm and followed by a collation at Wilbur M. Comeau American Legion Post 4, 1314 Main Street, Haverhill. All veterans groups and the general public are invited to attend. We cannot forget the sacrifices that have been made for our freedom.

If you are a veteran I invite you to join The American Legion or one of the other veterans organizations. All have various eligibility requirements which you can find on the Internet, example: Even if you cannot be active at this time the numbers are needed. Local, state and national legislators recognize the power of numbers. Twice a year, members of The American Legion visit the Congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and outline priorities for the coming legislative session. With 2.3 million members nationwide and over 40 thousand members in Massachusetts, they recognize we represent a large block of voters. Perhaps you do not need help from the VA today, but what about tomorrow? What about those in need who have to wait several months for assistance? This is but part of what we do for veterans, the community and the nation.

May God Bless our troops and their families. Bring them home safe.