American Legion Post 153, July 8, 2017 Meeting Review

Article submitted by Ted Barber

We began 2017 with the January 19, 2017 First Quarter Meeting. Mike Riplinger, Union County High School Superintendent was our guest speaker. He proposed that the American Legion Post 153 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10082 allow the Union County High School to host all future  November 11 Veteran’s Day Ceremonies. He said that the School would set up the annual ceremony similar to the annual graduation of high school seniors on the UCHS Football Field. Military Veterans would be invited to be seated on the North sidelines with the guest speaker stage in the middle of the field. The UCHS Band would present patriotic music and the UCHS JROTC would handle the drill and ceremonies to include posting of the American Flag.

The normal Veteran’s Day Parade would be combined with the annual Homecoming Parade which is not normally held on Veterans Day each year. Veterans would be honored at the front of the parade. This move would relieve the school’s interruption for two parades within a short time span.

Based upon the assets available to the Union County High School and the outstanding planning, coordination and execution demonstrated for the many past graduations, the decision to allow the High School to run the Veteran’s Day Ceremony was a easy decision.

Our Second Quarter April 12, 2017 American Legion Post Meeting focused on the JROTC Awards Assembly, the UCHS JROTC Florida Gateway College Scholarship, and the 2007 Memorial Day Ceremony. The following awards were presented by Ted Barber, Post Commander-elect at the UCHS JROTC May 4, 2017 Awards Ceremony:

General Military Excellence: Cadet Jayde Langkau
Scholarship Medal Award:  Cadet Noah Mattox
Post 153 $100 Cash Award: Cadet Ian Bly
Florida Gateway College $1,300 Scholarship Award:  (Primary) Cadet Brittany Liston*(Alternate) Cadet Taylor Lilliston

*Our Post $1,300 Scholarship requires the recipient to accept in writing and to register for the FGC Fall 2017 Semester.

The May 29, 2017 Memorial Day Ceremony was planned and coordinated by Ted Barber and Colan Coody. Dan Sikes, an Afghanistan Veteran and local attorney, was the guest speaker. Volunteer JROTC Cadets raised the American Flag to Half Mast at 9:55 AM and the Pledge of Allegiance was rendered. Timber Underhill sang a cappella the National Anthem.  The Sardis Baptist Church “Praise Group” sang patriotic songs; the Post Commander, Harold Green welcomed the audience and Gene Gordon provided the invocation. Kaitlyn Reed, a 2017 UCHS Graduate, former Cadet Major and current PV2 bound for Basic Training, read the names of the Union County Veterans that gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we are blessed to have in America. She also read the names of men and women from Union County that have served or are serving our Country in the United States Military. Bill McGill and Quinton Bloodsworth placed the American Legion Post 153 Honor Wreath at the Veteran’s Monument prior to the TAPS presentation played on the bagpipes by UCSO Sergeant Tod Hanlon. The Lake Butler Community Page (David Stegall) provided light refreshments and chilled bottled water for the guests.

As an American Legion Post, our presence at the Memorial Day 2017 Ceremony was an honor. We all can take pride in knowing the Ceremony was successful and a fitting tribute for honoring our fallen heroes and all veterans.

Our Third Quarter American Legion Meeting Thursday, July 20, 2017, is focused on our accomplishments and the pride we have in the United States Armed Forces; our recognition of all U.S. Veterans; our honoring of all Union County Veterans that paid the ultimate sacrifice and our continued support of future Veteran’s Day/ Memorial Day Ceremonies, the UCHS JROTC Program and our commitment to helping all our fellow American Military Veterans.

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