What do statistics really mean? You can play statistics to draw various conclusions. But here are some numbers that relate to a dedicated and caring organization. I’m talking about the American Legion, an organization that came into being and was chartered by Congress in 1919.
What was its purpose? The American Legion was — and remains — a patriotic organization focusing on service to veterans and their communities.
The numbers and projects are huge. The outreach of Legionnaires is outstanding when it comes to service projects, troop support, youth and community events.
Allow me to run some numbers for your attention, numbers attained during 2011 and a portion of 2012:
— Four million hours of community service.
— More than $1.5 million raised for VA hospitals.
— 83,746 pints of blood donated.
— $277,000 raised by Legion posts for the National Emergency Fund.
Let’s step outside of the Legion post walls and consider additional projects relating to troop support, youth and community events:
— Some 500,000 volunteer hours and nearly $1 million spent on troop support.
— 13,259 college scholarships granted at a cost of $3.7 million.
— Sponsorship of 2,200 American Legion baseball teams.
— Some 11,000 Memorial Day and Fourth of July events sponsored.
— More than $300,000 raised in support of Special Olympics.
The list goes on and on. Legion volunteers are involved in citizenship programs, Scouting activities, veteran employment and job-training, sponsorship of Boys State programs and the annual American Legion oratorical contest.
American Legion National Commander James Koutz, in this month’s issue of the American Legion magazine, said the increased activity is “nice to see, but we can do better than that. ... If even 10 percent more of our posts submitted reports, we would make it clearer to veterans, communities and the federal government the important role the American Legion fulfills across the land.”
During this month of November, there are other service-related dates to be remembered. On Nov. 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall was opened. The U.S. Marine Corps was established Nov. 10, 1775. On Nov. 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed, ending World War I. Later, Armistice Day turned into Veterans Day — a special day on which we honor ALL veterans. And 30 years ago, “A Memorial Like No Other” was dedicated in Washington, D.C. It was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.
So to ALL veterans, thank you for your service! You have served, and you continue to serve, to make our country the greatest democracy on Earth.
— The most fun things in life are either immoral or illegal, or make you fat.
— If you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.
— “Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time you’ve got.” — Art Buchwald.
— I don’t need a psychiatrist to prod into my personal life and make me tell them all my secrets. I have my friends for that.
— Women are like phones. They love to be held and talked to, but if you press the wrong button, you’ll be disconnected.
— I told my wife that a husband is like a fine wine; he gets better with age. The next day, she locked me in the cellar.
Steve Henry is a former radio and TV news director, and outdoor writer and photographer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org