By: Jim Gates, Department Commander

LABOR DAY 2012. I noticed a lot more United States Flags on display in my community. Why is it that we have so many “holiday patriots” out there? OK, that’s being overly presumptious of me to assume that the only folks flying a flag are Veterans. One does not have to have spent time in military service to be considered a Patriot! Fact: I know some people who I consider VERY patriotic and never spent time in the military service. Now, I’m wondering if all of those flags will stay in place through the eleventh of the month: 09-11, “Patriot Day”. Remember the rush of patriotic display THEN? It’s been eleven years. It’s become a day to reflect, remember and renew. A lot of us are willing to wear our patriotism on our sleeves, so to speak, and display the colors of our nation on our homes 24/7. Our newly-elected National Commander has proclaimed: “Every Day is Veteran’s Day”. I’ll take it a step further and just consider each day as “Patriot Day”. That’s just a bit more inclusive of our citizenry. And, that’s my “call”.

PATRIOT DAY 2012 falls on a Tuesday this year. Post, 32-Longmont, is planning an event at the Post Home to commemorate the day, much larger in scope from past years, because it’s our regular meeting night. A joint Legion Family meeting with members of our local Police, Fire and Emergency Services units being invited to participate. Well, that’s an overdue gesture! We always see tribute paid to our military personnel for keeping us safe, free, and out of harms way. Occasionally the “Guard” gets called out to help in an emergency situation, for example, like the fires we had early this summer. But, thinking back to the actual 09-11 disaster, the military was nowhere around, at least initially. No, the Fire and Police units in New York City were the first responders and they took the second biggest hit in fatalities. So, it’s past time our public safety organization’s get credit where credit is due. All of us need to take an attitude of thanks towards all of those who put it on the line for us day after day. Next time you meet up with a Police Officer, Sheriff’s Deputy or Fire Fighter face to face, stop for a moment and thank them for their service to your community! (And, If you get stopped for a traffic violation let me recommend you start out with this statement)! You’ll be surprised at their reaction! I’ve been doing this now for awhile and I get some astonished results. THEY aren’t expecting it, much like most of our Vietnam-Era Veterans don’t expect it when THEY are now being thanked years after the fact.

On May 8-9th, 2002, NEC RESOLUTION 30 was adopted during the annual Spring Meetings. In part, it reads:

RESOLVED, By the National Executive Committee of The American Legion in regular meeting assembled in Indianapolis, Indiana, on May 8-9, 2002, that it does affirm its support and encourage the members, Posts, and Departments of The American Legion to honor the victims of 9-11 by planning and executing an appropriate annual patriotic or memorializing event in the community on that September date so their memories do not fade.

For ideas, and information related to a Patriot Day observance: http://www.legion.org/sites/legion.org/files/legion/publications/sep11_planning_guide.pdf