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On Veterans Day, members of Madison American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary, Post 229 focus on well-being of everyone who served or is active in the military. Teenagers and Junior Auxiliary member, as shown here, also volunteer to recognize veterans. CONTRIBUTED

American Legion, Auxiliary focus on heroes for Veterans Day

MADISON – Veterans Day on Nov. 11. A day set aside to remember and recognize veterans who have served or who are currently serving to protect our freedoms.

Do not confuse Veterans Day with Memorial Day. Veterans Day pays tribute to all veterans – individuals who were or currently are fulfilling a commitment to a branch of the U.S. military, along with individuals who served but are deceased.

Like Post 229 in Madison, American Legion Auxiliary units will host special events in their communities across the country.

Madison American Legion will conduct hospice pinnings at local assisted-living facilities. “For the past two years, Post 229 has partnered with Affinity Hospice Care to conduct ‘pinning ceremonies’ for veterans under hospice care,” Jean Downs said. Downs serves as President of Auxiliary Unit 229 and Vice Commander of Post 229.

“We will also be giving out Veterans Day gifts (military hats) at the same time,” Downs said. “Unit 229 Auxiliary Unit has prepared gifts for every veteran and veteran’s spouse in assisted-living and memory-care facilities in Madison. We’ll continue distributing gifts the week of Nov. 6.” (hospicewepromise.com)

Auxiliary members will hand out remembrance poppies at Kroger on Wall Triana through Nov. 11. Shoppers can donate to support local veteran programs.

“We’ve collected hundreds of Veterans Day greeting cards from schools, Madison Girl Scouts and JROTC units,” Downs said.

Simple gestures are valuable in showing appreciation to veterans:

* Attend a parade or special event.

* Offer help with chores or yardwork for a veteran’s household.

* Talk to a veteran about his or her military service.

* Donate to a cause that helps veterans, such as American Legion Auxiliary Foundation.

School populations are showing their patriotism for Veterans Day; most are scheduled on Nov. 10. Monrovia Middle School is hosting a breakfast, followed by an assembly in the gym. Columbia, Heritage and Mill Creek elementary school students will march in their own campus parades for Americanism, with Legionnaires sharing in the excitement.

At Discovery Middle School, students and faculty will treat veterans to breakfast with an assembly before or after the meal. Students will show their patriotic spirit in talks and music. Discovery Panther Band traditionally plays anthems for love of America.

Midtown Elementary School also plans a Veterans Day Parade with staging in Kroger parking lot, no later than 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 10 to help with decorating. Parade kickoff will be at 9 a.m.

Liberty Middle School plans assemblies and programs in the gym. The Lions are inviting any interested veteran to join them for lunch.

“We will be doing a Quilt of Valor presentation at the 12:35 p.m. ceremony at Liberty. If you want to go to lunch, call me at 256-929-8450 or email jean.downs@teledyne.com,” Downs said.

Rainbow Elementary School will engage in a hallway stroll. To RSVP, email amsmith@madisoncity.k12.al.us.

Founded in 1919, American Legion Auxiliary or ALA is one of the oldest patriotic membership organizations in the country. These volunteers serve veterans, military and their families. For more information, visit ALAforVeterans.org.

Madison American Legion meets monthly on second Thursdays at veteran-owned Black Patch Distilling Co., 500 Lanier Road in Madison. Auxiliary members gather at 5:30 p.m., followed by social time at 6:30 p.m. and the Legionnaires’ meeting at 7 p.m.

For more information, visit AmericanLegionPost229.org or Facebook.

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