Seal Beach, CA native honors Former President, Sailor George H.W. Bush with day-long Gun Salute

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Gun Salute honors George H.W. Bush

WASHINGTON (NNS) — A detail from the Navy Ceremonial Guard performed a Gun Salute in honor of former President George H.W. Bush along the waterfront at the Washington Navy Yard.

The first round was fired immediately following Morning Colors at 0800 on Wednesday, echoing along the shores of the Anacostia River. Following that, a round was fired every 30 minutes until Evening Colors at 1646. The last round was fired at 1630 for a total of 18 rounds.

The gun salute was one of the first military honors visible to the public in Washington D.C. for former President Bush, a decorated Navy pilot during WW II who passed away Nov. 30 at his Houston, Texas home at the age of 94.

Established in 1931, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official ceremonial unit of the Navy. Located at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, DC, the Navy Ceremonial Guard’s primary mission is to represent the service in Presidential, Joint Armed Forces, Navy, and public ceremonies in and around the nation’s capital.

Members of the detail who honored former President Bush were led by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Senior Chief Shaven Savoy of Crowley, La., who is in the far right of the group photo. Other detail members (from left to right) are Master-at-Arms Seaman Jasmine Abbott of Blountstown, Fla., Master-at-Arms Seaman Charles Weissneburger, of Nerk, Ohio, Aviation Technician Airman Cameron Childs of Inver Grove Heights Minn., Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Fuels) Third Class Michael Vaughan of Williamsburg, Virginia., Aviation Electrician’s Mate Bishop Tucker of San Antonio, Texas, Seaman Alyssa Keller of Renton, Wash., and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Aircraft Handler) Ryan Eades of Seal Beach, Calif.

Source: Navy Office of Community Outreach

Mitsubishi Motors Introduces Team ‘Record the Journey’ for 2021 Rebelle Rally

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Selena “Mason” Converse and Erin Mason are sisters-in-law, wives, mothers and combat veterans, and they are two-thirds of Mitsubishi Motors’ 2021 Rebelle Rally entry.

They’ll be joined in their 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander on the nine-day, 2000-km, all-women off-road navigational rally by Sammy, Mason’s two-and-a-half-year-old German Shepherd, the first service dog ever to compete in the Rebelle.

Altogether, Mason, Erin and Sammy are Team #207, representing Record the Journey (RTJ), a military veterans charity dedicated to helping service members successfully transition to civilian life, and advocating for PTSD awareness.

“Mitsubishi Motors’ participation in the Rebelle Rally is first and foremost about our partnership with Record the Journey and supporting Rachael Ridenour and the charity she founded to help military veterans,” said Mark Chaffin, Chief Operating Officer, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc. (MMNA). “This year, in addition to supporting two veterans who honorably served, we’re breaking ground with Mason and Erin competing with Sammy to raise awareness for PTSD and the potentially life-saving work that trained service dogs do. We couldn’t be more proud to see the three of them in their 2022 Outlander, and celebrating one of Mitsubishi Motors’ most significant Dakar wins.”

MMNA and RTJ have broken new ground at the Rebelle each year and are poised to do it again. Starting in 2019 – when the brand first partnered with RTJ as part of MMNA’s “Small Batch – Big Impact” social-good program – Team RTJ finished second in the Rebelle’s CUV class with the event’s first ever adaptive athlete – U.S. Air Force veteran Karah Behrend – at the wheel of a Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross.

In 2020, MMNA and RTJ marked another first for the Rebelle, competing in a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle ever to complete the grueling multi-day event. This year, MMNA and RTJ will again make history in the wilds of Nevada and Southern California, when Sammy will become the first four-footed Rebelle.

“Record the Journey couldn’t be more grateful for the support that Mitsubishi Motors and our other partners have provided to enable military veterans to have this life-changing – and life-affirming – experience,” said retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major and RTJ Founder Ridenour. “And this year is particularly important, as Sammy joins Mason and Erin to bring focus to PTSD and the important role that service dogs play for our returning heroes.”

MMNA recently shared a rendering of the vehicle that will carry Erin, Mason and Sammy through the 2021 Rebelle Rally October 7-16. The Outlander’s special paint scheme pays tribute to a history-making Dakar Rally win twenty years ago, when Jutta Kleinschmidt drove a Mitsubishi Pajero to victory in 2001, becoming the only woman ever to win the world-famous Dakar. This was only one of Mitsubishi’s 12 overall wins in the world’s most rugged motorsport competition, and the first of seven in a row.

Navigator: Erin Mason

Erin Mason smiling wearing uniform

Military Info:
Branch Served –
United States Navy
Job Title – Aviation Structural Mechanic
Brief Job Description – Maintained aircraft airframe and structural components including flight surfaces and controls. Responsible for inspections, fabrication and repairs.
Years Served – 4
Deployments – 2 – Flight deck, USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, Mediterranean Sea, Suez Canal, Red Sea, as well as the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea
Duty Stations – Naval Air Station Oceana
Last Rank Earned – E-4 Petty Officer

Personal Info:
Hometown –
Wildomar, CA

Current Residence – Quitman, TX

Age – 32
Marital Status – Married, 7 yrs.

Number of Children – 2

Current Job – Owner & Farmer, Mason Wholesale Greenhouses – Plant Nursery Airport; Manager, Collins Field Regional Airport

 

Driver: Selena “Mason” Converse

Selena "Mason" Converse

Military Info:
Branch Served
– United States Air Force

Job Title – Emergency Medical Services Technician – EMT
Brief Job Description – Provided emergency medical care in both combat and non-combat situations. Instructed EMT Certification Courses (NREMT) for incoming Air Force Medics and Navy Corpsman.
Years Served – 12.75 yrs.
Deployments – 1 – Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan

Duty Stations – MacDill Air Force Base (Florida), Grand Forks AFB (North Dakota), Mountain Home AFB (Idaho), Fort Sam Houston (Texas)
Last Rank Earned – E-6 Technical Sergeant

Personal Info:

Hometown – Quitman, TX

Current Residence – Hurricane, UT

Age – 37
Marital Status – Married, 17 yrs.

Number of Children – 3

Current Job – Owner of Mason Converse Media. MCM Provides Off-Road / Adventure Photo & Video Content Creation, as well as social media services for off-road, adventure, and travel/tourism companies.

 

Service Dog: Sammy

Sammy the dog smiling

 

Breed – German Shepherd

Color – Black
Age – 2.75 yrs.
Birthplace – Colorado
Service Dog Type – PTSD
Services Provided – Guarding/Protection Alerts, Anxiety Regulation, Night Terror Management, and Social Situation Guide Tasks.

Preferred Pastime When Not Working: Non-stop Frisbee!

Service Dog Info:

https://usserviceanimals.org/blog/ptsd-service-dog-tasks/

In addition to honoring the 20th anniversary of Kleinschmidt’s momentous win, MMNA is also celebrating the brand’s 40th anniversary in the United States this year.

Alongside Mitsubishi Motors North America, Ally Financial, Inc., BFGoodrich Tires, Nextbase Dash Cams and Vision Wheel are partnering with Team RTJ this year, and Skout’s Honor Pet Supply Co. is providing special support to Sammy.

About Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
Through a network of approximately 330 dealer partners across the United States, Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for the sales, marketing and customer service of Mitsubishi Motors vehicles in the U.S. MMNA was the top-ranked Japanese brand in the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study. In its Environmental Targets 2030, MMNA’s parent company Mitsubishi Motors Corporation has set a goal of a 40 percent reduction in the CO2 emissions of its new cars by 2030 through leveraging EVs — with PHEVs as the centerpiece — to help create a sustainable society.

With headquarters in Franklin, Tennessee, and corporate operations in California, Georgia, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Florida and Virginia, MMNA directly and indirectly employs more than 8,000 people across the United States.

For more information on Mitsubishi vehicles, please contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at 615- 257-2698 or visit media.mitsubishicars.com.

The National WWII Museum Celebrates Oldest Living U.S. Veteran on his 112th Birthday

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LAwrence Brooks stands on porch with balloons

Lawrence Brooks, a New Orleans native and the oldest known U.S. veteran of World War II celebrated his 112th birthday at his home on September12, 2021. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery efforts in New Orleans following Hurricane Ida,  The National WWII Museum arranged a small, socially distanced birthday celebration with cake, a performance from the Museum’s vocal trio, The Victory Belles, and a Jeep parade courtesy of Kajun Outcast Jeep Club and Northshore Wrangler Association. Entertainment also included the Lawrence Brooks Birthday Band, a collection of local New Orleans musicians presented by the Bucktown All-Stars. The City of New Orleans also issued an official proclamation recognizing his milestone birthday.

Lawrence Brooks, born Sept. 12, 1909, served in the predominantly African-American 91st Engineer Battalion, which was stationed in New Guinea and then the Philippines during World War II. He was married to the late Leona B. Brooks and is the father of five children and five step-children. His oral history, recorded by The National WWII Museum, is available here. Last year, Mr. Brooks received more than 21,000 cards from all over the U.S. and abroad wishing him a happy 111th birthday.

Mr. Brooks’ birthday is a significant reminder of those who have served and continue to dedicate their lives to our freedom. The National WWII Museum’s ongoing educational mission is to tell the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL WWII MUSEUM
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, the institution celebrates the American spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information on TripAdvisor’s #1 New Orleans attraction, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.

‘Not something you should ever really see’: Veterans reflect on 9/11

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9/11 2001: International Newspapers headlnes

Spc. Bryan Stern was hungover. It was a sunny near-autumn day, but after a night of partying to bid a friend farewell, he didn’t want to be anywhere but bed.

Stationed in Lower Manhattan with the 227th Military Intelligence Company housed at 7 World Trade Center, he was riding the subway to work from Brooklyn, wishing he had stayed home on September 11, 2001.

“I was having a slow, slow morning,” he told Military Times. “I was just kind of in my own little world.”

Struggling, he continued his daily routine, making a much-needed stop at a street cart where he’d order a bagel and coffee each morning.

“My friend, I’m so happy you’re okay,” the cart owner said. Not feeling particularly fine, Stern asked what he meant.

The cart owner pointed up, at the flaming hole in the side of 1 World Trade Center.

Nearly 3,000 miles away at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, California, Lt. Amy McGrath was sound asleep when her sister called to tell her to turn on the news. A plane had hit the World Trade Center.

“I hung up and thought to myself that it was probably just a Cessna,” she said.

Unable to reach anyone using his early-era cell phone, Stern made his way to the building, hoping he might be able to assist with whatever had happened. Twenty years after the attack of 9/11, a group of military veterans speak about their experience of that day.

“I figured people needed help,” he said. “I have a lot of medical training, so I made my way down and I was just north of the South Tower, right in between them.”

Then a plane smashed into the second tower.

“I felt it on my face,” he said. “The exit hole of the second tower was right above me. I thought, ‘Holy shit, I’m going to get clobbered with all this debris.”

McGrath turned on her television just in time to see footage of the plane making impact. Her command called and asked her to head to the base.

“I got my flight suit on, put my flight boots on and got in my car,” she said. “Because I lived so close to the gate, I was one of the first air crew on the base that morning.”

Staff Sgt. Stefan Still was stationed at Fort Myer with the Army’s Old Guard, just outside Washington, D.C., and three miles from the Pentagon.

“It was just an absolutely beautiful morning,” he said. “It’s kind of the first morning where the temperature had broken and it first started to feel like fall.”

After PT, while waiting for assignments, he and members of his platoon were listening to the radio when they heard about the crash in New York. They switched a television to CNN.

And then they felt their building shake. Flight 77 had crashed into the Pentagon.

“As I’m opening the door, I can already see the smoke coming up,” he said.

Still instructed his unit to call their loved ones and tell them they were okay. He phoned his wife at the time, who was still sleeping. She screamed as she turned on the TV.

“It’s a very surreal feeling to see F-16s churning and burning above the barracks when you’re underneath combat air patrol for the nation’s capital,” Still said. “It’s not something that you should ever really see.”

Col. Randy Rosin was stationed at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida. While he believed the first plane crash into the side of the North Tower was an accident, when the second tower was struck, he quickly began to piece together exactly what was happening.

“We had all this activity that was going on, this chatter — they called it the ‘big wedding,’” he said. “In August, there was an intelligence assessment that came out, that said that something big is going to happen. But they placed it in Africa not New York.”

When the second plane hit the south tower, he began to realize that perhaps the intel about this large-scale al-Qaida event was correct about everything but the location.

Rosin, who had previously worked on plans for a response to the USS Cole bombing — the al-Qaida suicide attack against the guided missile destroyer on Oct. 12, 2000 in Yemen — recognized that the two attacks could be connected.

“I started to think, ‘Holy shit. This is the big wedding.’”

Stern was injured and bleeding from surface cuts. People were screaming, running in every direction. Medics treated him, and he returned to the base of the towers to continue helping. A few workers in the towers even began jumping, hopelessness spread, and panic ensued.

Then the second tower began to fall.

“I ran north,” Stern said. “My big idea was to get onto the West Side Highway kind of and bolt. There are no words to describe it. I remember thinking I’m going to die, I hope that I’m found, and I hope it’s not too painful.”

He found a car to hide under, and as the plume of debris washed over everything in sight, Stern waited to die. Minutes or maybe hours later, he emerged, with a mouth full of soot, and made his way back towards Ground Zero. Along the way, he spotted a friend.

Wreckage from World Trade Center at ground zero on September 11. (FEMA)

Looking for a bathroom, the pair stumbled across the only building with lights on — 340 West Street, a Bloomberg office with a generator. With permission from a lingering employee, the pair worked to set up a mobile command center to direct survivors stuck in lower Manhattan to safety.

Stern stepped out for a cigarette when he noticed something odd.

“There’s a little city bus stop, and all the glass is gone,” he said. “I looked down and there’s this American flag. It’s all crumpled up and messed up, and had probably been hanging over a building somewhere before.”

He picked it up, hung it over the door of the building, and he and the friend called the Army to connect with survivors in the city.

“Just tell them to look for the flag,” they said.

McGrath, had never flown in combat, but was ordered to board a jet and take it to the edge of the runway, leave the engines running, and await further instruction.

“I played scenarios out in my head,” McGrath said. “[I wondered] ‘Could we escort first?’ We didn’t train for this. We were sort of making it up as we went along in the hopes that we would never have to do the unthinkable.”

Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath flew combat missions in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The orders she expected were to shoot down any hijacked aircraft on the West Coast headed towards densely populated centers or key buildings — planes that were transporting civilians, American men, women and children.

It never came to that. After several hours, McGrath was relieved, but she knew this assignment was just the beginning of what was to come.

Still’s orders came the next day. His unit was one of several selected for recovery duty at the Pentagon.

“It’s one thing to see that on television,” he said. “But it’s another thing to actually pull up to the site itself. It’s still smoking, it’s still on fire.”

His job was to pull casualties from the wreckage. His unit worked the lower floors. He felt lucky because there the intact bodies were fewer.

“Most of what we were dealing with, we knew was a human at one point,” Still said. “But you could just disassociate yourself from what it was because it was just a foot or a hand you, as opposed to the higher floors. They were dealing with people that died of smoke inhalation.”

For Stern, Sept. 11 was a tipping point in his career and his life. He left the Army and recommissioned with the Navy, working with intelligence and special operations, and dedicated much of the last 20 years to homeland security.

Every day, when he leaves his house, however, he is reminded of that sunny Tuesday. The flag that served as a beacon for survivors at 340 West Street is prominently displayed in his living room. He recently reframed it, and it brought him straight back to lower Manhattan.

“It still smells,” he said. “It smelled like dust and dead people when I took it out of the frame. I had to go take a walk because it still smells like Ground Zero.”

Stern said that for years after 9/11, he was unable to go near construction sites because of the smell of the concrete and the sweat on the workers.

Navy Officer Bryan Stern deployed multiple times after Sept. 11 with Special Operations Forces.

Reminders of the day can be difficult to contextualize for those who served.

“How do you transition back from seeing all of that to going home and seeing your family and seeing your wife and seeing the dog?” Still said. “There was a lot of anger, I think in my heart.”

Still, whose unit didn’t deploy to Afghanistan or Iraq, got out of the Army. He thought about rejoining so that he could be part of a combat unit, but ultimately chose to separate from service after two more years. He keeps in touch with members of the platoon he served with on Sept. 11.

He noted, however, the way that the events that followed the attack altered the fabric of the military changed.

“Everybody that signed up post-9/11, every single one of them knew they were going to war,” Still said. “I don’t know if I would have been the person that would have done that absolutely knowing 100 percent and I’m deploying to Afghanistan or Iraq soon after basic training.”

Reflecting on the last two decades of war, McGrath said the military has made great strides in inclusion and diversity that never would have come if not for 9/11.

“When we deployed to combat, we were the first women to deploy in these roles,” McGrath said. “We were very aware that we were the first, not only from a combat aircrew experience, but also the maintainers and the mechanics that came out. This was really the first time that a combat unit like ours was integrated with women actually doing combat.”

She said the way women stepped up into combat roles during the Global War on Terror is part of the reason why, in 2015, all military occupations across all four branches were opened up to women.

“Our performance in combat was a big part of why no one could make the argument effectively that we should keep these doors closed to women, to all these other jobs,” she said. “I’m not sure that would have happened had it not been for our combat time after 9/11.”

Click here to read the full article on Army Times.

USO Statement on 20th Anniversary of 9/11 Attacks

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9 11 Patriot Day background, American Flag stripes and stars background. Patriot Day September 11, 2001. We Will Never Forget

The following is a statement from Dr. J.D. Crouch, II – CEO and President of the United Service Organizations (USO) about the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks:

“This week marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks – a day that forever changed our country. It is also a time when we think about how military conflicts have shaped much of the USO’s mission over the last two decades.

“Many of us have a personal experience related to the attacks that claimed 2,977 lives that September morning. And the recent events in Afghanistan – where 13 service members were killed in a terrorist attack during a mission to evacuate thousands of American citizens and our allies – highlight the extreme risk our service members have faced over the last 20 years. We honor these and all our fallen heroes who dedicated their lives to serving us all since September 11th.

“Following the 9/11 attacks, the impact of the USO’s operations was significant. Immediately after the attacks, according to the USO’s 2001 annual report, the organization’s ‘operations immediately responded, focusing programmatic initiatives inward to those restricted to their bases and extending hours and a variety of services.’ Thanks to the swiftness of our team, we worked to keep them connected to everything that gave meaning to their service.

“As the U.S. military ramped up operations, the USO was there by the side of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and many others who were engaged in the war on terrorism. USO tour veteran Wayne Newton and others first went to European bases and the carrier USS Enterprise in November 2001 to entertain service members. Then in December 2001, Newton, along with Drew Carey and others went to Afghanistan to perform.

“The USO, according to this vivid account from our Southwest Asia operations, went in to support our military with a suite of services. This included building full-scale centers to support service members deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and strategic neighboring countries like Kuwait and the UAE.

“At one point, there were three large USO centers in Iraq and eight centers in Afghanistan. The first USO facility in Afghanistan was the Pat Tillman Memorial USO Center at Bagram Air Base. Fittingly, it was the last of the USO centers to close in the country, just a few short months ago.

“Although we no longer have a physical presence in Afghanistan, we know the USO made an indelible mark in the lives of our troops, their families and the USO staff who served there. We will be forever linked by ‘the mystic chords of memory’ with the thousands of young men and women who spent time in a faraway land to ensure our safety at home.

“On this somber anniversary, we honor those who have served and thank all of those at the USO – staff and volunteers – for all that has been done for the USO and for the men and women of our country’s Armed Forces.

“While their missions change, our unwavering support of our military men and women never will. Because the weight of the world lands on their shoulders, we must be by their side. Because of the good work at the USO, we always will be.”

USO logoFollow the USO on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates and join the conversation using #BetheForce and #MoreThanThanks on social media.

About the USO:
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private nonprofit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, the support of our corporate partners, and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission and learn more about the USO, please visit USO.org or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Indian Motorcycle And Veterans Charity Ride Mark 7th Annual Motorcycle Therapy Adventure To Sturgis

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Group of motorcycle riders gather around two mororcycles and a disabled veteran with a prosthetic leg

Indian Motorcycle®, America’s First Motorcycle Company, today announced its continued support and sponsorship of the seventh annual Veterans Charity Ride (VCR) to Sturgis. The two have partnered with the initiative of “America Get Out & Ride” while using motorcycle therapy to support combat veterans’ transition to civilian life.

Many of the veterans joining the Veterans Charity Ride for the first time are amputees, paraplegics, or suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress and other issues veterans face after leaving the military. Each new veteran will pair with mentors who have already been through the Veterans Charity Ride program and receive one-on-one support to help their transition back to civilian life. The 2021 ride will include 16 total veterans – eight new, along with eight returning veterans who will serve as mentors.

“Veterans Charity Ride was designed to assist combat veterans who face challenges in their daily living and provide them with a support structure that will get them back outside and living life to the fullest,” said Dave Frey, Veterans Charity Ride Founder. “Many of our veterans used to ride motorcycles before their injuries and thought they never would ride again. Through support from companies like Indian Motorcycle and Champion Sidecar, we are able to get these vets back on bikes and enjoy the freedom of the open road.”

This year’s ride to Sturgis will start on July 28 in Moab, Utah where the group will take the trek through some of the nation’s most scenic backgrounds roads in the western United States. The group will stop and visit local communities along the route, such as Fort Collins, Colorado, where the group will be receiving an official proclamation and welcoming by the Mayor before arriving at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota on August 6. Participants will be riding an assortment of Indian Motorcycle models, outfitted with Rekluse® auto clutch systems and custom-built Champion Sidecars for amputee and paraplegic veterans.

The 14-day adventure allows participating veterans the opportunity to push towards conquering their post-war challenges while out on the open road. Throughout the trip, veterans will also conduct team-building exercises allowing riders to share their service experience during the emotional and mind-detoxing motorcycle ride.

“We’re honored to support our U.S. veterans and contribute to suchGroup of motorcycle riders gather around two mororcycles and spectators on the sidelines noble cause like the Veteran’s Charity Ride,” said Aaron Jax, Vice President for Indian Motorcycle. “Riding can be one of the most therapeutic experiences, as we have seen first-hand the dramatic evolution and incredible growth from vets that have completed the VCR program.”

The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis was created by veteran Army Paratrooper Dave Frey and leverages the therapeutic effects of motorcycle riding to create an adventure of a lifetime for wounded and amputee combat veterans adjusting to post-war life.

To support the Veterans Charity Ride, donate, or to learn more visit VeteransCharityRide.org.

Riders can also follow along on Indian Motorcycle’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and Veterans Charity Ride’s social media channels: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

ABOUT INDIAN MOTORCYCLE®

Indian Motorcycle is America’s first motorcycle company. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under brand new stewardship. To learn more, please visit www.indianmotorcycle.com.

REKLUSE® is a registered trademark of REKLUSE RACING, LLC

ABOUT VETERANS CHARITY RIDE

Veterans Charity Ride (VCR), started by veterans for veterans, is a non-profit organization that delivers Motorcycle Therapy and additional life changing, life-saving holistic programs specifically designed to assist wounded and amputee combat veterans with their needs and the issues they deal with on a daily basis. Helping our fellow veterans through outreach, action, activities, education and follow-up is what drives our organization. The end result of our program is a healthier and happier, more capable individual, who is now living life in a much better physical and mental condition, and able to help and support other veterans to do the same. Visit www.veteranscharityride.org to learn more and support this worthy cause.

Macy’s presents ‘United We Celebrate’ on 4th of July

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4th of July concept with Statue of Liberty and fireworks

(Macy’s) It’ll be a blast! Watch the nation’s largest fireworks show Sunday, July 4th at 8PM EST.

The 45th annual Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks will illuminate the Big Apple skyline with an electrifying light show full of bursting colors, jubilant music & feeling of positivity.

This year, we’re honoring America’s everyday heroes from communities across the country & the resilient spirit within us all. It’s our way of looking ahead with renewed hope for a brighter tomorrow.

Get excited for all the eye-popping pyrotechnics & dazzling drama you’ll experience when our show makes its highly anticipated return.

Top vocalists, the United States Army Field Band & Soldiers Choir & an orchestra’s cinematic sounds come together in a special salute to American bravery & optimism.

How do I get tickets to see Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks?
Macy’s Fireworks is a free public event. Tickets are not for sale. Macy’s works closely with local agencies to provide more than two miles of public viewing space that gives spectators a front-row view. These locations, entry points & security details will be available in our “Where to Watch” section coming soon.

Where can I see the performers?
Macy’s incredible lineup of performers can be enjoyed by tuning in to our one-night-only NBC broadcast special, Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks Spectacular, on Sunday, July 4, from 8pm-10pm ET/PT, 7pm-9pm CT/MT. Check local listings.

Watch the trailer!

Read more at Macy’s.com.

Normandy Commemorates D-Day With Small Crowds, But A Big Heart

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background with 3d texts, army helmet and remember and honor D-Day text

Article originally posted on NPR

When the sun rises over Omaha Beach, revealing vast stretches of wet sand extending toward distant cliffs, one starts to grasp the immensity of the task faced by Allied soldiers on June 6, 1944, landing on the Nazi-occupied Normandy shore.

Several ceremonies were held Sunday to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the decisive assault that led to the liberation of France and western Europe from Nazi control, and honor those who fell.

“These are the men who enabled liberty to regain a foothold on the European continent, and who in the days and weeks that followed lifted the shackles of tyranny, hedgerow by Normandy hedgerow, mile by bloody mile,” Britain’s ambassador to France, Lord Edward Llewelyn, said at the inauguration of a new British monument to D-Day’s heroes.

On D-Day, more than 150,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword and Gold, carried by 7,000 boats. This year on June 6, the beaches stood vast and nearly empty as the sun emerged, exactly 77 years since the dawn invasion.

For the second year in a row, anniversary commemorations were marked by virus travel restrictions that prevented veterans or families of fallen soldiers from the U.S., Britain, Canada and other Allied countries from making the trip to France. Only a few officials were allowed exceptions.

At the U.K. ceremony near the village of Ver-sur-Mer, bagpipes played memorial tunes and warplanes zipped overhead trailing red-white-and-blue smoke. Socially distanced participants stood in awe at the solemnity and serenity of the site, providing a spectacular and poignant view over Gold Beach and the English Channel.

The new monument pays tribute to those under British command who died on D-Day and during the Battle of Normandy. Visitors stood to salute the more than 22,000 men and women, mostly British soldiers, whose names are etched on its stone columns. Giant screens showed D-Day veterans gathered simultaneously at Britain’s National Memorial Aboretum to watch the Normandy event remotely. Prince Charles, speaking via video link, expressed regret that he couldn’t attend in person.

On June 6, 1944, “In the heart of the mist that enveloped the Normandy Coast … was a lightning bolt of freedom,” French Defense Minister Florence Parly told the ceremony. “France does not forget. France is forever grateful.”

Most public events have been canceled, and the official ceremonies are limited to a small number of selected guests and dignitaries.

Denis van den Brink, a WWII expert working for the town of Carentan, site of a strategic battle near Utah Beach, acknowledged the “big loss, the big absence is all the veterans who couldn’t travel.”

“That really hurts us very much because they are all around 95, 100 years old, and we hope they’re going to last forever. But, you know…” he said.

“At least we remain in a certain spirit of commemoration, which is the most important,” he told The Associated Press.

Continue on to read the full article on NPR.

Armed Forces Bank Announces New Partnership with A Million Thanks to Send Thank You Letters to Military Members Serving Around the World

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table decorated in military colors inside bank lobby with Armed Forces Bank banner on it

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907, recently announced a new partnership with A Million Thanks to send thank you letters to military members serving around the world. A Million Thanks is a national organization that collects and distributes letters of support and thanks directly to active duty, reserve and veteran military men and women. AFB was recently named the official financial services partner for A Million Thanks.

Beginning May 17 during National Military Appreciation Month, AFB branch locations will become official A Million Thanks “Send A Letter” collection sites with drop boxes available for bank clients and community members to send notes of appreciation. Drop boxes will be available in each of AFB’s 26 locations across the country and in 80 branch locations of Academy Bank, AFB’s sister bank.

“Our partnership with A Million Thanks is a natural extension of our long-standing commitment to support the bravery and dedication of our military service members and their families,” said Don Giles, President of Armed Forces Bank. “We’re honored to join forces with the inspiring mission of A Million Thanks by offering our clients and the communities we serve a convenient way to send notes of gratitude directly to those who are protecting and defending our country.”

Armed Forces Bank will also offer an opportunity to send digital messages via its website at www.afbank.com/message-your-appreciation/a-million-thanks. Since 2004, A Million Thanks has collected and distributed nearly 11 million letters to military service members.

“Now with the Armed Forces Bank partnership, we have the opportunity to significantly expand our efforts with our ‘Send A Letter’ drop boxes in their branches across the country,” said Shauna Fleming, founder and CEO of A Million Thanks. “A handwritten letter is a simple, but powerful gesture that anyone can do to express his or her appreciation for our military’s courage, sacrifice and dedication. The response to the letters is often quite emotional. The letters provide a morale boost, not just to one service member, but often to the entire unit.”

table decorated in military colors inside bank lobby with young man filing out a card to drop in boxArmed Forces Bank’s Long-Standing Military Commitment

With its headquarters in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, AFB has been dedicated to serving military service members and their families for more than 110 years. Approximately 35% of AFB Associates have some type of military affiliation either by spouse, retired themselves or their children. AFB’s dedication to the military has included many leadership initiatives and awards.

  • AFB was named “Distinguished Bank of the Year” by the Department of the Army and Navy in 2019 and has recently received nine nominations from the Army, Navy and Air Force for the 2020 award. Nominated by the Command Leadership at military installation around the country, the award recognizes AFB’s leadership in serving military service members and their families with a vast array of banking services, installation support and financial education.
  • For the past eight consecutive years, AFB also has earned the “Military Saves Designation of Savings Excellence” by the Association of Military Banks. The program helps service members and their families save money, reduce debt and build wealth.
  • AFB is a founding partner of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership. MSEP connects military spouses with hundreds of partner employers committed to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses for long-term, portable careers with advancement opportunities.

“At Armed Forces Bank, we celebrate the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses. They are the backbone of military families. As a spouse of a 20-year Army retiree, that hits home,” said Jodi Vickery, EVP and Director of Military Consumer Lending. “Our partnership with A Million Thanks gives us another important way to actively express our gratitude for the many sacrifices military men and women endure.”

In support of Military Appreciation Month in May, AFB associates around the country are embarking on Random Acts of Kindness to show appreciation to servicemembers, such as spontaneous help to pay for a fill-up at the gas pump or handing out gift cards to make groceries a little less expensive for service members and their families.

“Every day, it is an honor to serve our active and retired military service members and their families in every way we can,” Giles added. “No matter where they are stationed or deployed around the world, AFB is dedicated to expressing our appreciation by making everything from banking solutions to financial advice valuable, convenient and personal.”

About Armed Forces Bank

Armed Forces Bank (AFB), founded and headquartered in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, is a full-service military bank committed to serving those who serve since 1907. As part of a family of banks with over $1.2 billion in assets, AFB provides affordable, personal and convenient banking and financial services to both active and retired military and civilian clients in all 50 states and around the world. Armed Forces Bank has more on-base locations than any military bank in the country with 26 locations. Armed Forces Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dickinson Financial Corporation, a $3.5 billion bank holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo. AFB’s sister bank, Academy Bank, is a full-service community bank with over 80 branch locations in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri. For more, visit www.afbank.com.

About A Million Thanks

Founded in 2004, A Million Thanks is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the U.S. Military. A Million Thanks provides support and appreciation to our active and veteran military men and women through sending letters and granting betterment of life wishes, as well as providing higher education scholarships to their children. For more, visit www.amillionthanks.org.

Memorial Day Freebies for Veterans & Military Members

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Memorial Day freebies and discounts offer

By Natalie Rodgers

As part of Military Appreciation Month and Memorial Day, several businesses and organizations across the country are offering free and discounted services to current and veteran military personnel this month.

Check out our list below to see the ways in which others are supporting and appreciating our troops. Unless otherwise specified, these deals apply to all branches of the military for active-duty, retired, and veteran members.

Shopping:

  • Blanquil: 40% off all items
  • Eyemart Express: 20% off with verified military ID
  • Home Depot: 10% off on Memorial Day with verified military ID
  • Jiffy Lube: 15% off for all services year-around
  • Kohl’s: 15% off every Monday in May for all military personnel and their families with verified military ID
  • Levi’s: 15% off with verified military ID
  • Moosejaw: 20% off full priced items with verified military ID
  • MONI Smart Security: 10% off their first 12 months of service during the month of May
  • The North Face: 10% off your order for all military personnel, their spouses, and their dependents.
  • Oakley: 50% off select products
  • Pep Boys: 10% off services and parts
  • Reebok: 30% off
  • Samsung: Various discounts across appliances with Samsung’s military discount program
  • Sherwin-Williams: 15% off for all military personnel and their spouses with a verified military ID
  • T-Mobile: 50% off Magenta rate family lines for military personnel and their families
  • Under Armour: 15% off your purchase on Memorial Day, special Veterans dedicated items are also available for purchase.
  • Zappos: 10% off entire orders for military personnel

Food and Drink:

  • Chick-fil-A: 10% off for all service members with a verified military ID
  • Cold Stone Creamery: 10% off for all service members
  • Denny’s: Varying discounts between 10% and 20% off at varying locations
  • El Pollo Loco: 15% off with verified military ID
  • Friendly’s: Various discounts with verified military ID
  • Fuddruckers: 15% off with verified military ID
  • Home Chef: 50% off for all service members, teachers, first responders, and medical personnel.
  • Hooters: 20% off all takeout orders for military personnel, healthcare workers, and first responders
  • Jersey Mike’s: 10% off your order
  • IHOP: 20% off your meal at select locations
  • Ninety Nine Restaurant: All military personnel will receive a free entrée with the purchase of another meal
  • Outback Steakhouse: 10% off for military personnel and their families with verified military ID
  • Pizza Hut: 10% off your order in-store with verified military ID
  • Sweet Frog: 15% off every Monday in May
  • Vineyard Vines: 15% off most products with verified military ID

Experiences:

2021 Memorial Day Schedule of Major Events

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Memorial Day and Honor words on a flowing American flag

Originally posted on MilitaryBenefits.com

Memorial Day began sometime after the Civil War with both formal and informal ceremonies at graves and ceremonies for the soldiers who had fallen in battle. Many places claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866, including Waterloo, New York and both Macon and Columbus, Georgia. On May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a Union veterans organization, established Decoration Day, May 30, as a time for the nation to decorate the dead with flowers. Arlington National Cemetery held the first large observance later that year.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held throughout the country on May 30. Over time, the Army and Navy adopted policies for proper observances, and state legislatures passed proclamations designating the day. After World War I the day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars, and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

2021 Memorial Day Schedule of Major Events

Virtual Memorial Day Events

  • Veterans Legacy Memorial (VLM)
  • Create a Free Remembrance Plaque
    • Together We Served is inviting any Veteran or Family Member to create a Remembrance Military Service Plaque, at no charge, to remember an Active Serving or Veteran Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airman or Coastguardsman who is now Deceased.
  • National D-Day Memorial – 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. est on Mon. May 31st
    • The Memorial will honor and remember those who gave their lives to the cause of freedom with a virtual online event. On-site visitors get free admission 10AM – Noon and can view the ceremony from a screen in the Bobbie G. Johnson pavilion.
  • New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial Remembrance Day Ceremony – Online at 11:00 a.m. EST on Monday, May 31st
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Online at 1:00 p.m. EST on Monday, May 31st
    • The 2021 Memorial Day Ceremony will be a live webcast. A small in-person ceremony will take place limited to 250 guests. Spots must be reserved in advance.
  • Virtual National Relay
    • Carry The Load’s Memorial May Campaign, in partnership with the VA, brings awareness to the service and sacrifice of our military, veterans, first responders and their families. Start or join a team or participate as an individual.
  • Wear Blue to Remember/Team Red White and Blue (RWB)
  • Parade of Heroes – 8 a.m. PT May 31

Check with your local veterans organizations, monuments, military bases and local governments for events. There are many virtual runs, ceremonies and observances being held locally throughout the U.S.

Memorial Day Events

Call ahead or check online for any in person events due to current circumstances.

  • VA National Cemeteries
    • Each VA national cemetery will conduct a brief wreath laying ceremony, accompanied by a moment of silence and the playing of Taps. Ceremonies will not be open to the public but will be Live Streamed and posted here as they appear on May 25.
    • Other public events typically associated with Memorial Day at national cemeteries, including group placement of flags at gravesites, will not take place. However, all VA national cemeteries will be open Memorial Day weekend from dawn to dusk for public visitation.
    • Visitors are also urged to consider visiting Friday, Saturday or Sunday to avoid possible crowds on Memorial Day. Families may continue the tradition of placing flowers and small American flags at their Veteran’s gravesite.
    • While the department can’t hold large public ceremonies, VA will still honor Veterans and service members with the solemn dignity and respect they have earned through their service and sacrifice. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie
    • See the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) announcement for more details.
  • Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.
    • Flags In – Thursday, May 27, 12:00 p.m.
    • National Memorial Day Observance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Monday, May 31, 11:00 a.m.
  • Air Force Memorial – TBD, Washington D.C.
  • Dallas Memorial March, Dallas, TX
    • Sunday, May 30th at 12PM – Monday, May 31st at 1:30PM
    • Decorate your cars and show the families of those who have fallen that they will not be forgotten.
  • Fleet Week – Memorial Events New York City, NY.
    • Fleet Week 2021 will be virtual and runs May 26-31, 2021
    • Parade of Ships – Cancelled
    • 10th Annual Veterans Appreciation Day & Memorial Tribute Event – Cancelled
    • Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance – Cancelled
    • Intrepid Memorial Day Commemoration – Cancelled
  • 153rd Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade & Ceremonies – Memorial Day, May 31, 12:00 p.m. ET, Gettysburg, PA. Cancelled.
  • National Memorial Day Concert – Sunday, May 30, 8 p.m. ET, West Lawn of U.S. Capitol.
    • Broadcast on PBS
  • National Memorial Day Parade – Memorial Day, 2 p.m., Washington D.C. Cancelled.
    • It will be replaced by a televised event, The National Memorial Day Parade: America Stands Tall.
  • National Veterans Memorial & Museum – May 28 – May 31, 2021, Columbus, OH
    • Special Memorial Day Events begin on Friday May 28th and run throughout the weekend.
    • Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony Monday, May 31 10AM – 11AM
  • Navy MemorialCancelled, Washington D.C.
    • Rolling Thunder Ceremony
    • First Reserve Assn. Ceremony
    • NDW Wreath Laying Ceremony
  • President Lincoln’s CottageCancelled – Monday, 10 am., Washington D.C.
  • World War II MemorialCancelled – Monday, 9 a.m., Washington D.C

Find a Memorial Day ceremony near you, 120+ VA National Cemetery events across the country. 2021 events will be added as announced.


Memorial Day Activities & Events to Honor Those Who Died

  • Visit cemeteries and memorials.
  • Attend Memorial Day ceremonies.
  • Volunteer to place an American Flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
  • Observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.
  • Attend a Memorial Day parade, festival, fair or concert such as the National Memorial Day Concert.
  • Run for charity on Memorial Day weekend.
  • Volunteer to support events such as the National Memorial Day Parade.
  • Donate to veterans and military support groups.
  • Wear Blue.

National Moment of Remembrance

The National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that asks Americans to pause for a moment of silence for a minute at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day. The 3 pm time was chosen, because it is the time when many Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday. It is intended to be a unifying act of remembrance for Americans of all ages. The National Moment of Remembrance Act became law in the year 2000.

There are many ways to observe the National Moment of Remembrance, both formally and informally. The moment of silence can be observed more formally at places such as a veterans cemetery, park, picnic ground and can include playing ‘Taps’, the military bugle call that reflects on the glory of those who have shed blood for us. A bell can also be rung at the beginning and end of the one minute of remembrance. If you are driving and unable to stop you can turn on your headlights for a minute.

Read more: https://militarybenefits.info/memorial-day/#ixzz6voCJbKFY

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