Update from the President

4 months ago

Hello fellow Tomb Guards and Society Members. I hope this newsletter finds you well and in great spirits. Summer is upon us, and the weather everywhere is getting warmer each day. I hope everyone enjoyed the celebration of our Independence and had a safe and wonderful day with family, friends, and our great Freedoms.

I’m reminded often of the sacrifices our veterans have made and continue to make four our country. Each day however, many of our veterans struggle with a simple but important part of life, feeding themselves and their families. Veteran food banks help cover the gap to those seriously in need. Many are supported by communities, and other civic organizations and are run by hard working volunteers, some family members, but most are caring people regardless of their affiliation to a veteran.

I was on a work assignment in St. Louis where I was made aware of a situation at a veteran food bank in south central Illinois. This location recently made the local news, and it was noted that veterans that go there are currently allowed only 2 items…yes, I said two items each…and it may not be what they need. That’s not nearly enough to take care of a meal for one, let alone anyone with them. The racks are bare. Nobody is to blame, and this is not something new, but it’s a situation that needs attention. I took time away from work for a day and traveled about two hours south, stopped along the way and loaded up my van to help replenish some well needed empty racks. I purchased food specific to the food bank needs and upon delivery the smiles and the greeting I received was so worth my time and expense. While this donation was made in the name of the Society, I covered this from personal expenses. I would ask that each of you take a day, locate a veteran food bank near you, and ask how you can help, what you might be able to donate (be it small or large). It’s true that giving is the gift that needs no reply.

On a brighter note… work always takes me to many places and recently I was in Montana and Manila before that. Montana…what do we know about Montana: Big Sky country and Yellowstone. But more importantly is Chief Plenty Coups State Park and the home of Chief Plenty Coups. I was welcomed by the staff (thanks Gavin!) and had a chance to visit the welcome center and then toured the home of Chief Plenty Coups with my escort and Crow native, Mark Bruised Head. We have a rich history with this Native American Tribe and if you ever find yourself in Montana head south of Billings to the small, but proud, town of Prior, MT. That is where you will find the state park. Take a visit, but not on Monday when they are closed.

I did mention Manila as well. I took a call one day while in Chicago for work and next thing I know I found myself in Manila for work. While on my trip I had the honor to visit the Manila American Cemetery run by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). I received a personal guided tour of the cemetery and monument. Our history as Tomb Guards extends here as four of the Trans-Pacific Candidates for the World War II Unknown Soldier were exhumed from here and transported to Hawaii for the selection. What a beautiful experience it was to see another ABMC cemetery. The new visitors center there was well designed and featured a great walk-through timeline of our relationship with the Philippine citizens and their great sacrifice to the War in the Pacific. The country is celebrating the 75th Anniversary of that relationship and it continues to grow.

I hope you all enjoy the start of the summer season and peace be with all of you.

Lonny LeGrand, Jr
Society President

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