Don’t take American Legion for granted

Published 9:22 am Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Column: Roger Bakken, Guest Column

Everybody knows about the debt the American Legion Club possesses by now and many have read how we are planning on paying it back. There is no other way; it must be paid back.

Roger Bakken

Now let’s take a look at what works well and what we all take for granted, including myself. We just celebrated Memorial Day, with recognition of veterans at three cemeteries and the Freeborn County Courthouse with a volley fire, salute and “Taps,” followed by laying of the wreaths at Fountain Lake. Then a parade was held, followed by the ceremony at Graceland Cemetery. This consisted of music and placing wreaths by eight service organizations. None of this happened by accident. It took volunteers, from Billy Christenson and the honor guard to Ed Nelson as bugler to providing a firing squad. Then there is Dave Skogheim and his volunteers who repainted the flagpoles that needed paint and replaced the flags that line the avenue of flags.

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Then Arnie Mulso for the preparation, planning and timing that was needed to put this day together. Dave Mullenbach was this year’s Legionnaire of the Year, who was recognized by being parade marshal and raising the flag at Graceland. This didn’t happen because he belonged to the good old boys club, it happened because of many years of work he provided maintaining equipment and always being there to help with events and programs when asked.

We support the school and youth activities we are able to, with fundraisers or money from our gaming. We sponsor the American Legion youth baseball team, which won the district and went to state last year. At our post’s pancake breakfasts the customer can designate a dollar to the youth group of his church of choice. The banquet room can be used for weddings and other special events or fundraisers that are needed. There are many I know I have forgotten because we take them for granted.

All of these events are made possible by volunteers who just keep working, hoping that just maybe somebody will step up to help make their job easier. I know everybody can’t volunteer. So if you are unable to physically volunteer, can you support the club financially?

For some reason all of the above is just taken for granted. All I hear is: How could you let that happen? I hear very few words saying: What can I do to help the club? How can we make this work?

What I take from this is that it must be easier to lie on the ground and take a beating than get up and fight to stay open. I know what I’m going to do. This is your club. Do you know what you want? To do nothing is not an option.


Roger Bakken is the commander of American Legion Post 56.