"Never again should our men and women serving in the armed forces receive the same treatment as those returning from Vietnam,” said Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
Remember our Vietnam Veterans on Vietnam Recognition Day, Saturday, March 29th at Post 291's annual "Welcome Home" Vietnam Era Vets Party. Check our website's upcoming events for details.
Welcome Brandi Record as she joins the Post 291 Executive Committee. A California native, Brandi graduated from West Point and spent five years on active duty, with deployments in Korea and Iraq. Upon completion of her active service she joined the National Guard where in 2012 she was deployed for a year to Afghanistan with her National Guard Intelligence company. She was promoted to Major last June.
As we head into daylight savings time, members are flocking to the Post for events and activities. Friday night dinner dances are almost routinely sold out. Sunday music on the Patio is virtually standing room only. Please go to the website at www.al291.com or facebook to see what activities are underway and always call for reservations for Friday night dances and other Post events.
The restaurant has received rave reviews from many members who enjoy more entrée choices, still at reasonable prices. There are also more choices on the wine list, thanks to our successful wine tasting series every Friday that allows us to test new wines for future additions. The renovation of the Main Hall, View Room and Fireside Room has been well received and is now ready for prime time. The expected interruptions from the Marina Park construction have not been serious despite the enormity of the project, and the City of Newport continues to make every effort not to interfere with Post activities.
With the Post’s increased popularity comes security issues that must be addressed. Post 291 is a private veterans association. There is a requirement that members using Post property and facilities be able to prove that they are members in good standing. In short, you must carry your membership card with you and present it upon entry to Post property or show it if asked for by the Officer of the Day, Sergeant-at-Arms or other designated Post officer. You cannot let a non-member use your member ID card or gate card. If you do, the card will be confiscated. Additionally, if you bring guests,(the limit is five per member) all guests must sign-in under your name and that member MUST be present. Why? Because it is the #1 rule and regulation that comes with Post membership! When you arrive for most events, the security team will ask you to see your membership card. That is their job. Please show them the respect they deserve as they strive to make your Post an enjoyable place to visit.
Reminder: The first Post officer nominations will be conducted at the March 12, 2014 General Meeting. Second nominations will be held April 9, and Post Officer elections Wednesday May 14, 2014.
Congratulations to Matthew Rock, a Senior at El Modena High School who won the American Legion Oratorical Contest that was held at the Post Thursday night. He moves to District 29 competition to be held on January 26 at the Orange Post. He's a second-time winner, representing our Post last year at District competition. Thanks to Ken George, 3rd Vice, who organized this event, and the students who participated.
In honoring these objectives, the Post hosted many events in 2013 that brought out more and more members to enjoy the benefits of the Post they so richly deserved. We honored Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines on their birthdays. World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent war era veterans had their memorials and events. At other times, whether special days or holiday celebrations, Post members and their families came together with friends for dining, music, dancing and social enjoyment. We also remembered our obligation to support all our veterans. The Donations Committee sent nearly $100,000 to causes and programs that directly benefit many veterans-in-need.
As the Post begins 2014, our commitment to all veterans, our members or veterans-in-need alike, will reflect in all we do as the Post families strive to honor all who served.
Hall Renovation: During the month of January, the Main Hall will receive a much needed renovation with repairs, new paint and updating. The work crews will be scheduled during non-event times and at night to reduce as much inconvenience as possible.
Marina Park Update: The City of Newport Beach is in the midst of construction of the new Marina Park project immediately adjacent to the west side of Post property. Phase I began in December 2013 and will last at least through July. During this time, entrance to the Post parking lot may be blocked or restricted. This inconvenience should be neither often nor long-standing but it most surely will happen. We will have security to assist members whenever we have been alerted to a problem. In any event, please follow the City workers instructions and signage. Please be patient.
Beyond the remarkable success of many events including Jazz on the Bay, the Air Force Party and the Friday night Sock Hop; there is an organizational issue that needs to be addressed to all members of the Legion family. The Constitution and Bylaws govern all activities. All American Legion Posts, or at least most of them, have these documents in place when they organize. Post 291 has both documents posted on the website.
Each year Post Officers and Executive Committee members are elected by the general membership. Collectively they are the Executive Board who meets the first Thursday each month. An agenda is set by the Commander and minutes recorded. The meetings are conducted in accordance with Post Bylaws, Robert’s Rules of Order and the Legion Officer’s Guide. When motions are made and seconded, members discuss the issues and vote. Only elected officers vote; the Commander does not vote other than to break a tie. Issues that receive a majority vote become “enforceable” regulations used to guide Post operations.
Post 291 also has a thriving business operation which includes the Bar, Restaurant and Marina, most of which do not exist at other Posts. The business is overseen by the House Committee. The House Committee is comprised of six Post members who meet weekly along with the Commander who again, does not vote. The overall House Committee mandate is to handle day-to-day activities while recommending approval to the Executive Board for major expenditures.
The Sons of the American Legion, Squadron 291, is a program of the Post. As such, the S.A.L. operates with their own command staff in relative autonomy’ Many of their activities and procedures, however, fall under the Post Bylaws and are subject to oversight of the Post Executive Board. Membership in the S.A.L. is limited to sons (grandsons) of veterans that served in the Armed Forces during specified Congressional mandated wars and conflicts.
The American Legion Yacht Club, also located at Post 291, has its own command staff whose chief officer is Commodore and is a separate organization with their own Charter and Bylaws.
Visit the Post 291 website link to review the Organizational Chart, Constitution and Bylaws. As membership increases, additional committees have been set up to examine improvements and increased efficiency in the parking lot, Marina and other facility areas. The Officer of the Day (OD) program will be reinstated this month. The OD program is necessary to assist the Sgt-at-Arms and existing security in checking membership identification, and generally ensuring members and guests to have a safe and secure experience while they adhere to Post regulations especially as they apply to our ABC license. Our security staff is contracted by the Post to uphold our Rules and Regulations. All security members are members of the Post and combat veterans. They deserve all the respect demanded by their position and their status as Post members, Legionnaires and veterans who have served honorably in the armed forces. Revised Marina policies, procedures and slip rental agreements are near completion and await approval. We continue to work with bar and kitchen staff. Many changes and upgrades have been successfully implemented in the kitchen. The new bar manager is taking hold of his responsibilities as well.
Remember, you are required to show your membership identification card every time you enter the Post. There are no exceptions!
A big thank you to all those who came to our “Blast to the Past” 50’s Sock Hop, danced to doo-wop songs in poodle skirts and jeans to the Z-Bops Band, and brought socks for our vets in need. 250 pairs were collected, along with cash donations for patients at the Long Beach VA and the homeless vets at the Orange County Stand Down the weekend of September 27-29. If you wish to volunteer that weekend, please go to our Off-Site Post Events link or contact Jesse Garcia, our Post Service Officer.
Thanks for your efforts.
Additionally, the current menu will be updated with more seasonal fare placed in rotation.
business hours, and Burn Your Own will not be affected during this changeover.
It was a spectacular success, thanks going to all who assisted in making this a special day for our honored war vets. We even made the ABC Channel 7 news showing our event in full swing. Congratulations to the raffle prizes winners who won tickets to tour the USS Iowa and the grand prize of a rail trip, 40’s-style, to San Diego.
The WW2 and Korean War vets are the backbone of the Post and enjoy seeing them still active in all the Post doings. It was an honor for us to recognize them with this party, and as Post parties go, this was a barnburner.
Second Vice Commander Ken Widdall, and his wife, Auxiliary Member Cindy, Legion family volunteers and Post staff who worked furiously to ensure another “over-the-top” event with the pancake breakfast, lunch, drinks, entertainment and dancing, plus phenomenal raffle prizes. An added thanks to the Sno-Cone and Popcorn Guys, Doug, Carmen, and Tom! Who knew Sno-cones could become an adult beverage!!
The Grand Marshal lead boat for the Old Glory Boat Parade featured a first-ever ‘live-online-feed’ link to troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan during the sail around Newport Harbor. Children and adults standing on docks and shoreline, along with members of all the yacht clubs on the bay shouted out support for troops 8,000 miles away. Thanks Neil for donating your time and boat for the parade, along with Skipper Tim and the Fairwind.
Some 250 Make-a-Wish attendees and their families enjoyed breakfast in the Main Hall. Thanks to all the ALYC SeaGal volunteers, Chandler Bell with Hornblower, and face painters who made their day a little more special.
The Post has a great summer planned so come down and enjoy all the events.
The future looks promising. I’m optimistic about our ability to increase volunteer services to our veterans, along with additional donations to provide for many of their needs. Much progress has been in regards to Post business activities, and improvements are scheduled that will increase the efficiency of the operation and enhance the working conditions of all of our employees.
The American Legion is praising Congress for passing the new Stolen Valor Act, which addresses areas that were previously ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
The new Stolen Valor Act would make it a crime to profit from lies about military awards and decorations, as opposed to the previous law which criminalized the wearing of unearned medals. If signed into law by President Obama as expected, this act will cover issues ranging from lying to receive veteran or health care benefits, to obtaining a government contract only eligible for a veteran- or service-disabled veteran owned business, or getting a job reserved for a veteran.
“Last night the United States Senate voted to pass the House version of the Stolen Valor Act by unanimous consent,” said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. “Within days it will be the law of the land once again. The American Legion is proud to have aided in its passage, and would like to especially thank Senators (Dean) Heller and (Jon)Tester for sponsoring and shepherding the bill through the Senate, and Representative (Joe) Heck for doing the same in the House.”
Delegates to The American Legion’s National Convention last August unanimously passed Resolution No. 27, which called for passage of this legislation.
With a current membership of 2.4-million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
Saturday, May 18 is Armed Forces Day. Come down to the Post to enjoy the music after a stroll through Castaways Park displaying 1776 flags honoring our military. Opening ceremonies start at noon and will be open to visitors through Sunday.
Celebrated on the third Saturday in May, Armed Forces Day salutes all of our men and women in military service. Whether Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, National Guard, or Coast Guard, our active and reserve service personnel are an important part of the United States.
While the United States, as with many new countries, began in war, our national Army, Navy, and Marines were officially formalized in 1775, the year before the Declaration of Independence was signed. From the very beginning, the Armed Forces played an important role in the history of the country. However, while this was the start of the military branches, we have not always had permanent military personnel. Wariness of a standing army caused the Founders initially to only employ military men during times of need, and rely on local militias when possible. Still, as time passed, it became increasingly more obvious that a standing national military was needed to protect the fledgling country. By the turn of the century, the ancestor of our modern military branches was established. As the armed forces matured and technology advanced, the Air Force was created as a separate branch in 1947, and with it, the National Guard evolved into its current format.
Historically, each branch had its own department, and had its own holiday, but in 1949, all branches were put under the administration of the Department of Defense. A joint holiday was created to emphasize our unified military and the first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950. While the combined holiday was created in part to embody this reorganization, it also served to increase public awareness of the Armed Forces. With the goal to expand public understanding of the interdependence of military personnel and civilians, it serves to remind the general population that our servicemen and women are one of the ways we help preserve our country.
Our military is a visible reminder of our ability to protect our country and population. Let it also be a reminder to take a look around you, and remember that the military is not a faceless entity, but rather the son or daughter, neighbor or friend who chose to be ready to fight so others don't have to. In a very real sense, our military personnel take their responsibility of citizenship one large step further. Regardless of your branch, rank, or duties, we salute you, our Armed Forces.
The Memorial Poppy
The poppy as the memorial flower for the American war dead is a tradition which began in the years following the first World War. Veterans returning to their homes in this country remembered the wild poppies which lined the devastated battlefields of France and Flanders, and the soldiers of all nations came to look upon the flowers as a living symbol of their dead comrades' sacrifice.
A Canadian officer, Colonel John McCrae who was killed during the war, immortalized the flowers in his famous poem, "In Flanders' Field." Its opening lines are familiar to millions of people around the world,
"In Flanders' field the poppies blow,
Between the crosses row on row---"
In October 1921 at the Organizing Convention of the American Legion Auxiliary, the poppy was adopted as their Memorial Flower. At that time the Auxiliary pledged 100% of the profits from the poppy distribution to be used for servicemen and servicewomen and their families.
More that 25,000,000 poppies are made by the veterans and distributed by the American Legion Auxiliary each year. With the American Legion, the S.A.L. and the Auxiliary working together as a family, the Auxiliary is able to distribute the flowers to the public in May. The weekend prior to Memorial weekend has become known as Poppy Days. The money goes to the Auxiliary to be used for the veterans in need.
So when you see "Miss Poppy" around the Post, purchase your Poppies and wear them during the month of May as a remembrance to our soldiers' sacrifice.