Legion hosts special meeting for vets
Special to the Enquirer
With events over the past few weeks, many veterans have relived battles fought over these past 20 years in remembering their service in Afghanistan and the Middle East.
Thoughts and emotions boiled over in some veterans on the news and social media, and members of the John F. Thompson American Legion Post 52 in Hartselle and its Auxiliary took action.
“The American Legion is a place for veterans of all conflicts to be able to come together and share their experiences – to talk, listen or just be around others who know what they are going through,” said retired Col. Brian Williams, Post vice commander and an Afghanistan veteran.
“My wife and I were talking about everything going on in the news and how difficult it is for some, and Jennifer was insistent that we not wait for our next regular meeting but do something now for the veterans in our community,” he explained. “Next thing I know, we were changing the sign outside and posting invitations online for vets to join us there Monday night.”
The social media posts had many likes and shares, and the impromptu meeting saw roughly 20 people gather at the Legion on Sparkman Street Aug. 23.
“We had a good turnout of those who either fought in Afghanistan or Iraq or who supported those who did,” Williams said. “We want to be sure these vets have a better experience than the Vietnam guys did when they returned home and that country fell.”
Veterans came together, told their stories, shared the pain of watching the news and gained perspective from each other as they all had different experiences.
Retired Army officer Dave Guido told of his positive experiences working with the Afghan Special Operators and shared how they now are being hunted down by the Taliban. Others interjected with their tales and shared some laughs in the midst of their disappointment.
All the veterans shared the same disbelief that Afghanistan fell so quickly. Many expressed anger more was not done to properly exit the country where troops have been for the past two decades.
Retired Army Col. Brian Naugher, senior defense liaison for U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville, brought clarity to the discussion on how that office is trying to help.
Naugher, himself with several tours in Afghanistan, said Tuberville was extremely unhappy with the way the operation was going and pledged there will be accountability for the missteps.
Naugher reaffirmed Tuberville is a strong advocate of veterans, and service members and veterans deserve answers for how the withdrawal from Afghanistan went so very wrong.
The purpose of the American Legion is to bring veterans together, further their causes for integration back into society, look out for their welfare and promote veterans issues.
Hartselle’s Post 52 has been in this community since the early 1920s,
Anyone who might like to fellowship with other veterans can contact or visit the Legion. Meetings are the first Thursday of every month, with dinner served starting at 6:30 p.m.
Whether it is to do projects for the youth of the community, talk about veterans’ issues or just get to know others who share a common bond, the Legion is there for all who need it.
The very next meeting will be held at the American Legion Post 52 Sept. 2, with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m.