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American Legion celebrates Christmas with Veterans

Commonwealth Journal - 12/28/2023

Dec. 25—For our military, Christmas may be spent in a different land, but the love for their country knows no boundaries.

The American Legion completed their annual trip to elder homes all across Pulaski County Friday in order to give their support to local veterans and show that their sacrifices were remembered.

The American Legion's Auxiliary had spent weeks organizing gifts and readying them for the holidays. They gave the veterans $50 checks along with goodie bags.

The Commonwealth Journal attended The Neighborhood living facility with Chaplain of the American Legion and Korean Infantryman Clarence Floyd, 82nd Airborne Division Thomas Hogan, and Second Armored Division Eugene Lipps who went from room to room in their full uniforms to see the veterans and remind them of the sacrifices they made as well as to wish them a 'Merry Christmas'.

"Every year, the American Legion honors our veterans on Veteran's Day and also at Christmas," said Chaplain Floyd. "At Christmas, we always take them a monetary gift. Normally, those gifts are donations that people have given us for that purpose. And on Veteran's Day we always deliver them a card and thank them for their service and let them know, as a veteran, they're still being remembered."

Hogan said that he feels he owes it to his fellow veterans, and he takes great pride in the American Legion Honor Guard's commitment to local vets. They frequently attend deceased veterans' funerals and visit vets in hospice and help their family members navigate the difficulties of having a loved one who served.

"I think we have the greatest Honor Guard ever," said Hogan. "I've seen Arlington. It's a beautiful place... I'm not taking away from them at all, but they don't do what we do."

While this trio went to The Neighborhood, others in the American Legion went to other nursing homes across the county.

Members of the Honor Guard posed for pictures with the vets and spoke with some of the non-veteran residents that they knew to ask about their families and how they were getting along.

Lipps said that these visits are very important to the local veterans, and that it's a bright spot for them when so many others can never understand what they went through.

"What makes it so special to us to show up in uniform is to see these veterans. Sometimes they don't see a visitor all year. To see us come in these uniforms, it's a blessing to them, and it's definitely a blessing to us," said Lipps.


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