Story By Rick Lanier / Photos By Robert Noles
“Honor to the soldier and sailoreverywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”― Abraham Lincoln
Any given day in Main St., USA, veterans are interwoven into the fabric of society . City leaders, business owners, first responders, citizens and veterans of World War II, of Korea, of Vietnam, of Desert Storm, the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan all share a common denominator: across generations, each served with honor and stand ready to serve America again, anytime or anywhere.
For over a century, the American Legion has served the nation as a red-white-and-blue organization and advocate and influencer of social change in America. The American Legion focuses on service to veterans, active service members and communities and has helped establish hundreds of new veteran benefits.
Congress chartered the American Legion on Sept. 16, 1919, as a patriotic organization to serve the needs of war-weary veterans. Today, the American Legion has become one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States with over three million members and 13,000 posts worldwide.
More than 9,800 proud veterans call Lee County their home. Unfortunately, many of our veterans do not receive the federal and state benefits they deserve and are available to them. Many become frustrated with the lack of access to a computer or other needed resources and give up after attempting to satisfy the myriad of requirements associated with the application process.
Some simply do not know that their service to our country has earned them benefits that could help them in their everyday lives.
Opelika’s American Legion Posts 18 and 152 strive to change that and want each veteran to know that help is available to them. Local posts serve as headquarters for veterans and a place where veterans can help each other navigate the governmental red tape associated with applying for and receiving due benefits. It serves as a place to organize service plans, a place of fellowship, a respite for those working through the unique challenges veterans face, a source of information and a place where veterans can proudly share what their service and America means to them.
“Over the past couple of years, our post has done a good job in not only taking care of our veteran’s needs, but the needs of our communities as well, more especially the youth within those communities,” said George Dowdy, commander of American Legion Post 18. “Recently, and unfortunately with COVID, our efforts have been curtailed a great deal. We were able to organize some relief from the past hurricane, but we look forward to getting back to full speed once again.”
To the Legionnaire, and veterans everywhere, the beliefs and values upon which our great country was founded remain alive and well. Words such as honor, courage, vigilance, service, sacrifice and the rule of law are not merely words bound by the tattered pages of history, instead they serve as tenets to the way of life within the community veterans now call home.
Yankee Doodle is indeed alive and well, along with the do-or-die nephews (and nieces) of Uncle Sam proudly serving still — ever vigil and always ready.
American Legion National Headquarters are located in Indianapolis, Indiana. American Legion posts are organized into 55 departments – one for each state, and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines. American Legion Post 18 is located at 710 West Point Parkway Opelika and American Legion Post 152located at 2800 Pepperell Parkway Opelika. Visit legion.org for more information.