05 Nov 2019


It’s easy to become contemplative about how lucky we are to live in a country where freedom is a fundamental right as we sing along to Lee Greenwood’s legendary ballad, “God Bless The USA.” He ruminates that if tomorrow everything he owns were gone and he was left with nothing but his children and his wife, he’d “thank his lucky stars to be living here today, ’cause the flag still stands for freedom and they can’t take that away.” Regardless of the “state of the nation” these days, those words still ring true…perhaps now more than ever thanks to the men and women who fought (and continue to fight) for our freedom.
Last month, Nantucket’s local American Legion – Byron L. Sylvaro Post 82 – celebrated along with the rest of the nation, the Legion’s 100 Year Anniversary. They did it in style with a proper “Gala” held at the local VFW and attended by over 200 people intent on properly honoring the amazing service people of this organization and all that they represent. My husband Dan and I (along with a committed group of local volunteers) had the privilege of serving the meal to these terrific folks. We are constantly amazed by the humble demeanor and generous hearts of these gentle giants.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that members of these local organizations like the American Legion and VFW are all people who have served in our armed forces – literally willing to fight and even die for our country. It’s awe inspiring to witness the ongoing level of service and commitment they bring home from their military experience and into their local communities. On Nantucket alone, Post 82 is an avid supporter of the Boy Scouts, a leader in organizing the Memorial Day Observance and parade, host for several large scale community meals and countless other contributions to the island that often times are even done anonymously as they strive first and foremost to serve their fellow community members.
In honor of Veteran’s Day, perhaps one of the most meaningful acts by Post 82 that is rarely reported is their visit to Nantucket’s local nursing home facility. Veterans in uniform from Byron L. Sylvaro Post 82 visit the veterans at Our Island Home, speak with each, thank them, and present each with a personal American Flag. Some of the resident veterans attach their flags to their wheelchairs or walkers. Others display them in their rooms. Those who served honoring those who served. I can think of no higher tribute to our nation and the freedom they fought for.
This month as we pause to celebrate all that we’re thankful for, let’s not forget the numerous unsung heroes living and serving in our local communities and throughout our country. Perhaps we can take a page from their book and join them in serving one another. If you’re on island over Thanksgiving, you can take the Turkey Plunge and then join the American Legion Post 82 in serving their annual FREE Thanksgiving Day dinner which typically feeds over 400 local residents. Joyfully serve alongside the servers…or in the words of Lee Greenwood, “I’ll gladly stand up next to you.” It will make you proud to be an American and a Nantucketer!
God Bless the USA.
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