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American Legion Out to Help Veterans, Troops

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 7, 2006 – The American Legion is focused, as always, on fighting for veterans’ rights, but also on supporting the troops serving today in the war on terrorism, the Legion’s two new leaders said here yesterday.

“We strongly believe that a nation who forgets its veterans is a lost nation, so we won’t let that happen on our watch,” Paul A. Morin, the newly-elected national commander of the American Legion, said in a Pentagon Channel interview. “We’ll continue to do battle for the children of our nation and the American way of life. That’s what we do as an organization.”

Morin and his counterpart, JoAnn Cronin, the national president of the American Legion Auxiliary, took office Aug. 31 at the American Legion National Convention in Salt Lake City.

The American Legion has launched a new program, called Hometown Heroes, that encourages local American Legion units to support troops as they arrive home from deployments, Morin, a Vietnam veteran, said. This program is important because it links troops to their hometowns, and guarantees they will receive a more welcome homecoming than that given to U.S. troops coming home from the Vietnam War, he said.

“We do not want to see any veteran ever returning to what we did, so we’ll be there to be welcoming them home with open arms,” he said. “We truly are a grateful nation.”

As a supporting organization to the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary is also focused on supporting America’s veterans and current servicemembers, Cronin said in the same interview. The auxiliary sponsors a creative arts festival for veterans that helps many former servicemembers with their therapy and rehabilitation, and also adopts units overseas and sends them needed items, she said.

“We’re very active with both the veterans and our troops, supporting them, working right alongside the American Legion in any way we can, supporting the hometown program also,” she said.

As the daughter of a World War II veteran, Cronin said, she understands the needs of military families. The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary are there to support these families in many ways, she said.

“There’s always somebody that you can turn to for help and support, much more now than there was during World War II,” she said. “They’re there to help you, and you just have to find them. The American Legion Auxiliary units are there to help and support in any way we can.”

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