President's Messages from Previous Newsletters
When the Star Spangled Banner is played at any occasion, I am moved by the music and the lyrics. A sense of patriotism and love of country overtakes me. As a cadet at the US Air Force Academy, the entire four stanzas of the song were part of our knowledge training. Many people probably don't even realize that the song contains four stanzas. It seems that the song is and has been a foundational part of our nation. However, it was only written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key, a lawyer from Baltimore, who watched for 25 hours from aboard his own boat in Baltimore Harbor eight miles from Fort McHenry and guarded by a contingent of British seamen, the shelling of that fort by the British Navy during the War of 1812. The words that Key penned, after seeing the Stars and Stripes still flying over the fort, were set to music using the melody from "To Anachreon in Heaven," a popular English drinking tune. The US military unofficially adopted the song as the national anthem based on its historicity. While President Woodrow Wilson formally signed an Executive Order in 1916 designating the song as our national anthem to be played during military celebrations, it was President Herbert Hoover who signed the law on March 3, 1931 officially making the Star Spangled Banner our national anthem.
March is also Women's History Month, highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of women to the nation and the world. Our military history is replete with women noted for their patriotism and compassion that made them a formidable force during their service. These include Deborah Sampson who served two years in the Continental Army, Cathay Williams, the first black woman to serve in the US Army during the Civil War, Ruby Bradley, an Army nurse who spent time as a POW in the Philippines during WWII, Nancy Harkness Love, who commanded the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron during WWII, Elsie Ott, who pioneered air evacuation of military casualties, Eileen Collins, who piloted the Space Shuttle and subsequently commanded a Shuttle mission, and Ann Dunwoody, the first female four-star general in the US Army. The entire list and many more are already contained in volumes capturing the noteworthy accomplishments of these and other women who, like you, volunteered to serve our nation. Thank you for your service to the nation, the State, the community, and this Chapter. God bless you, the men and women who serve in the military today, our leaders, our elected representatives, and this great nation.
Happy Birthday USMC! November 10 marks two hundred forty-seven years of service to the nation! Election Day is coming up! November 8. You’ve heard it before. Hopefully everyone reading this newsletter will get the message and act on it! Elections have consequences! You need to get out and vote, not only because it is your civic duty, but because your vote does have an impact. Veterans' Day recognizes and honors those men and women who stood and stand in the gap to protect the nation. Only about 1% of the population of the US serve in the military. Thank you to you and the many others who voluntarily give of their time to fulfill this auspicious responsibility. The world seems to be getting more dangerous daily in spite of efforts to promote peace. Never Stop Serving the nation and the others who join in that service. The Honoring Our PACT Act has created a plethora of advertisements from lawyers wanting "to help" those veterans impacted by the toxic environment exposed at Camp LeJeune. While the legislation is a great step in providing assistance to those who may have been affected during their assignment, the use of a lawyer to recover the benefits provided under the Act may not be necessary. Those who are covered by the Act need to consult with the VA, in particular a Veteran Service Organization (VSO) or VSO representative to determine what is needed to pursue compensation. MOAA's foremost mission is to advocate fulfillment of the promises that the nation has made to those who serve in the nation's defense. Informing, advising and influencing the legislation brought forth in Congress is the main avenue, which has been very successful for several years. We do our part by sending messages to our elected representatives in Congress. In the past, only a few thousand members participated, but the results prove the efficacy of their involvement. MOAA relies on the our participation and more significant participation could lead to greater results. Your participation is now becoming part of the objective criteria used for Level of Excellence awards. Read more about this in the (Nov 2022 Newsletter) Legislative Update section. We cannot be as successful as we are in the nation, the State, and the community without your participation and service. Thank you for all you do to support this Chapter and the men and women who volunteer to defend the Constitution. God bless you, our comrades and their families, all who serve and served with distinction, and the United States of America.
Congratulations Southwest Chapter! We are a 2021 5-Star Level of Excellence Award winner!! I will represent the Chapter at the LOE Award Dinner on October 28 in Kansas City. Thanks to the efforts of all who contribute to the work we do in the community, in the State, and nationally! It's more than just a glitzy write-up that gets noticed, it is the effort of everyone to contribute to our scholarship fundraiser, the collecting of donations in goods and monies for the St Louis Fisher House and Missouri USO, attend meetings, contact our elected representatives, and continue to make our Chapter viable. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your past service, and for your choice to continue your service. We are poised to do it all again this year, but we will need some help as those who carried the weight last year have completed their mission and need to be replaced. So, please consider helping out our Chapter and the community by being part of the success. God bless you, our membership, those who served and are currently serving in the greatest armed force in the world, those who are elected to serve the people, and this great nation of ours, the United States of America!
We are approaching a defining moment as a Chapter in the Illinois Council, and struggling. This situation is serious. On April 6, the Illinois Council Board, Chapter Presidents of the three active Chapters in Illinois, and I will meet to discuss setting the catchment boundaries for the four remaining Chapters under the Illinois Council. In the last 4 years, five of our nine Chapters have closed. Southwest currently has the most Chapter members of the four, and we are on the verge of tripling our responsible catchment area. I say this not to frighten you into retreating, but to make you aware that we hold the key to keeping the grass roots support for military and veteran issues and causes in our area. We can choose to make a stand just as 185 volunteers did at the Alamo, or we can turn our backs on our fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, public health officers, and others, and let Congress have its way with our benefits and entitlements. Many of you have served and served and continue to serve. I thank you for your dedication and loyalty. There are others who may be able to serve with our Board, but may be afraid of overcommitting their time. If you don't want to be burdened by Congressional legislation affecting the military community, I implore you to become involved and help us make a stand for what has been promised, for those who have served, for those who are serving, and to preserve for the future the strong national defense that this nation has always been able to rely on. You won't regret it. Please help me out by letting me know that you want to get involved. Even just a little bit would help. Send me an e-mail. I promise I won't make you serve as President.at least not right away. God bless you, those who serve today in defense of freedom, and this great country.