The Spirit of Independence
We’re entering what should be one of the most joyful times of the year. As you likely know well, the Fourth of July is approaching quickly. There is no doubt, in our current situation families are fatigued, ready to pack the car for vacation and visit with family and friends. This time of the year is often one where people travel far and wide to reunite with loved ones, celebrate America’s endless spirit of independence, and enjoy Holiday food combinations.
I myself share in this fatigue that I cannot be with all of my friends and loved ones in the way which is typical. I also see that we may have taken these usual holiday gatherings for granted, but we need to be careful so as to not let the living spirit of American independence become reliant on good food (not to be confused with healthy food), fireworks, tailgates and lawn chairs, as fun as those things can be.
For the past few decades, the American people have been stuck in a repetitive, albeit exciting rut, where the contemplation of what it has cost for us to be able to enjoy our freedoms often runs second to those other exciting activities.
I think that this year, where family meetings often consist of Zoom and Facetime calls, we can afford to read more about what exactly it means to be free.
There is no better time than now to remind ourselves that regardless of what goes on in the world, we remain independent to a degree that many of our ancestors fought, suffered and died for, and thus none of our liberties should be taken for granted.
Let us remember the great sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice, that 405,000 Americans made to protect our freedom in World War II. Let us also remember the 116,516 American soldiers who died in World War I, and the countless other conflicts in which we lost friends and loved ones for the sake of freedom.
On July 4, we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence, which turned out to be much more than simply putting pen to paper. It ultimately cut the States’ ties to the English Monarch, George III, thus setting the stage for a hard-fought battle that would give us the many freedoms that we still have to this day.
It takes a very strong and well-formed mindset of patriotism to be able to celebrate our nation’s independence in an exciting and all-encompassing way for 244 years in a row.
As an aside, I think that there is no better example of the “free lifestyle” than being able to drive your own car freely to a pool, a golf course, a restaurant, or a yacht club. If you enjoy those aspects of living in Lake Forest, you can thank the men and women who made sure that you can roam about freely; while you as a resident can use these amenities, they came at a great cost -- one which we should never forget. Freedom is not free. That being said, we should do our absolute best to ensure that the heavy sacrifices do not go to waste. Enjoy your access to what Lake Forest has to offer you, and don’t forget what it took for that to be made available. We should make use of what has been gifted to us, what has been handed down to us from generation to generation: freedom.
So wherever you may be reading this, or however much you might miss the festivities, or however far from family you might be, let us wish our great nation a very happy, free, and independent 244th birthday.
American Legion Post is Forming in Spanish Fort, Named after Lake Forest Resident, Colonel Glenn D. Frazier
A brand new American Legion Post has been formed in Spanish Fort, Alabama. The name of the American Legion Post is GLENN D. FRAZIER Post 222. The Post name was selected to honor Colonel Glenn D. Frazier (Retired). Mr. Frazier enlisted in the U. S. Army on July 3, 1941, at the age of 16, and requested to be stationed in the Philippine Islands. His request was granted and within a few days he was on a ship headed to the Philippines where he participated in what we call now “Basic Training”. After “Basic Training”, he then attended four months of Army Ordinance Training School in Manila, until that training was interrupted by the Japanese attack on the Philippines on December 8, 1941, just hours after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. On April 9, 1942, when the decision to surrender to the Japanese was made, then-Corporal Glenn D. Frazier (17 years old) was one of the 60,000 to 80,000 American and Philippine forces who were captured. He and his fellow captives were forced to walk -- without rest, water or food -- for the next seven days in what came to be known as the Bataan Death March. Thousands of Americans and Filipinos died on ‘the March’. Glenn survived and spent the next three-plus years as a Japanese P.O.W. in Japan. After the close of the war, Glenn returned home to the United States with the rank of Sergeant. He continued to serve in the United States Army Reserve for the next six years and afterward continued his service to all veterans for the remainder of his lifetime. Colonel Glenn D. Frazier (Retired) passed away on September 15, 2018 at age 94. He was a true American Hero! He told his story in his book entitled “Hell’s Guest”.
GLENN D. FRAZIER Post 222 was granted its Temporary Charter in the American Legion, Department of Alabama, on March 25, 2020, by the American Legion National Headquarters located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Currently, we are within about two weeks of completing all of the documentation required to apply for our Permanent Charter as an American Legion Post. The Post started with 16 Legionnaire members, and it currently has 22 Legionnaire members. Once our Application is granted and our Permanent Charter as an American Legion Post is issued, we will also establish a Sons of the American (SAL) Squadron, an Auxiliary Unit and an American Legion Riders Chapter; these four units are collectively known as “the American Legion Family”. However, we are being proactive, and we are already planning for and working on the establishment of the additional parts of the American Legion Family for GLENN D. FRAZIER Post 222 in Spanish Fort, Alabama.
At this time, the American Legion is the largest Veterans Service Organization in the United States of America with over 12,000 chartered Posts and approximately 2 Million active members. There is one Department for each of the 50 States, with five other Departments located in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and The Philippines. The American Legion was founded on March 15 – 19, 1919, in Paris, France. On September 16, 1919, The American Legion was granted its federal charter by the U. S. Congress and now, 101+ years later, the American Legion has maintained its commitment to serve not only as a resource for and a voice on behalf of all veterans across America, but also as an organization dedicated to the betterment of America through community service activities outlined in and organized under the four pillars of the organization.
The four pillars of the American Legion are – Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children & Youth. These Four Pillars are as relevant today as when the organization was founded, with many programs offered under each Pillar. These Four Pillars are, and should be, an American Legion Post’s primary focus and are and will be for the GLENN D. FRAZIER Post 222.
An American Legion Post which is focused on these Four Pillars shines; the Post stands out and are often recognized by the communities in which it is located as a respectable, significant, relevant and an important part of the community. This is only a secondary or collateral reward for the GLENN D. FRAZIER Post 222, after service to our fellow veterans, their families and children and youth in our community, and our communities in general of Spanish Fort, Daphne, and surrounding areas Alabama.
On Saturday, July 18, 2020, at approximately 3:00 PM, we will gather with the Lake Forest POA, at the POA’s invitation to meet as many members who can come and learn more about who we are, and what we would like to achieve to assist others in our communities. We hope to see you all there. For those interested in joining us in our efforts, applications will be on hand, and for more information concerning the American Legion Family, itself, please visit the National Headquarters’ website: legion.org, or the Department of Alabama’s website: legional.org
Respectfully Submitted by: Michael T. Kelly
Composed by: Michael T. Kelly
33rd District, Baldwin County Commander, American Legion, Department of Alabama
and Glenn D. Frazier Post 222, Spanish Fort, Alabama Member
Edits made by: Jeffrey A. Gardner, 33rd District, Judge Advocate, American Legion, Department of Alabama
and Glenn D. Frazier Post 222, Spanish Fort, Alabama