In mid-2019, The American Legion Family national leadership traveled to Europe for an important trip. Why is this visit so important? There are three main reasons – diplomacy, national security, and service to our men and women serving overseas and their families. As members of the American Legion Auxiliary, we should be proud of this annual mission to support our country and our military.
You may have seen pictures of The American Legion Family delegation visiting historical military landmarks and laying wreaths at memorial grounds. But the importance of this trip runs deeper than that.
When the Legion Family travels together to Europe, it represents a united front and show of strength to world leaders. It demonstrates that we are there to support all of our military servicemembers, veterans, and their families.
Our actions overseas mirror our actions stateside, and here’s how: The American Legion travels to Europe for diplomacy and national security. The ALA travels beside them in support of the Legion and to serve our mission.
Landstuhl Regional Medical Center
2018-2019 ALA National President Kathy Dungan and American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad visited patients at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. They received an opportunity to explain how the Legion Family supports patients and their families, both while they are deployed and back home. For example, Dungan spoke with a wounded servicemember about what he needs for himself and his family. She discovered that he would be traveling back to the United States to continue his treatment. She talked with him about the mission of the ALA and how our members are here to support his family.
The Fisher House Foundation provides a place for military and veterans’ families to stay at no cost while their loved one is undergoing treatment. This visit gave Dungan the opportunity to talk with families and opened the door for her to learn how their needs may differ from families staying at a Fisher House in the United States. In the future, there is an opportunity for the ALA to provide items to these families during this trip to Europe.
The American Legion Family delegation mingled with servicemembers at a barbecue hosted by the USO. This event was another way to hear firsthand from servicemembers on how we can help. Activities like these allow for future ALA opportunities during the Europe tour.
The American Legion and the Auxiliary are respected by military leaders for the support we have given for nearly a century. This trip builds on and establishes relationships that are important in serving our collective missions.
The Europe trip has potential to grow for the American Legion Auxiliary. As we send our national president each year, important information about current and emerging needs we may not have been aware of can be relayed to the national organization.
As we embark on another century of service, we can look for ways to get more out of the trip. There is potential to conduct service projects at places such as Landstuhl, Fisher House, and military facilities.