Patriotism is an expression of one of the greatest loves there is: a person’s love of his or her country. It’s a strong but non-destructive sentiment, and therefore has nothing to do with declaring superiority of one nation over another.
There are no limitations on who can experience patriotism. It is open to anyone with an unshakeable affection for a nation and all for which it stands — plus a devotion to those who vigorously and honorably defend that country and its principles.
This love is evident in the care and advocacy provided to a nation’s protectors — military veterans and servicemembers — plus their families. Patriotism can also be expressed by supporting local communities, promoting good citizenship, and mentoring youth.
For the McBean Family of Maryland, and lots of families across the U.S. and beyond, one of the best ways to do all of those things has been to be active, participating members in American Legion Family organizations: The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of The American Legion, and American Legion Riders. There are three generations of McBeans who proudly show their patriotism in this way.
The McBean family’s tradition of multi-generational membership started when patriarch Lawrence, a U.S. Army veteran with 20-plus years of military service, was looking for another opportunity to contribute to a greater good.
“I wanted to find an organization that gives back to our veterans, and, at the same time, allows us to enjoy ourselves through camaraderie with other veterans, servicemembers, military families, and so forth. The American Legion, and the Legion Family organizations, have been a good fit for us. I’ve been associated with The American Legion now for about 12 years,” said Legionnaire Lawrence McBean of Post 259 in Clinton, Md.
“Patriotism is the love of your country. It’s about what is in your heart…”
— ALA member Peggye McBean of Unit 259 in Clinton, Md.
“Serving our country, and then coming out of the military and being able to serve our country again within The American Legion structure, is even more of a privilege and an honor for me and my family. That’s patriotism for me, particularly when I can involve my entire family within that process. It’s respect for our country, living by duty and honor to our country, and supporting that through the Good Lord and family,” McBean added.
McBean’s wife Peggye is a member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 259. Their adult sons, Michael Quander and Jimmy Quander, are members of the Sons of The American Legion Squadron 259. Lawrence started the American Legion Riders chapter at Post 259 in 2011, with Peggye and Michael joining him as charter members. Legion Riders is a motorcycle enthusiasts program under the auspices of The American Legion.
Michael’s wife Chauncia Jones-Quander is an ALA member in Unit 259. Their daughter Nolyn Quander is an ALA Junior member, as are Jimmy’s daughters Sage and Ailanni Quander. Although Jimmy’s wife Nadiyah Quander is ineligible to join the Auxiliary, Nadiyah volunteers to help with Legion Family mission-based activities and events, Peggye McBean said.
Through the years, participation and membership within the Legion Family has become a McBean tradition that serves a purpose.
“Larry and I wanted to make sure we were doing something valuable together, something our children and grandchildren could learn from. It’s one thing to say, for example, ‘My great grandfather was in the military.’ But it’s so important to understand what that means — that sacrifices were made for all of us through that service,” Peggye McBean added.
She explained what makes her ALA membership meaningful, and how that is an expression of her patriotism: “My membership is worthwhile because it’s an opportunity to give back to veterans and servicemembers, the protectors and defenders of our country. We are the generation that needs to make sure they are taken care of and that their services are acknowledged and deemed meaningful to everyone. Patriotism is the love of your country. It’s about what is in your heart — and this is what’s in my heart for our nation’s protectors.”