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Watch the VFW Convention Live

If you can’t make it to the National Convention, be sure to have your electronic devices ready as the VFW prepares to stream coverage from the 117th VFW National Convention on www.vfw.org, live from the Charlotte Convention Center.

Approximately 10,000 VFW and VFW Auxiliary members and guests are expected to attend the weeklong convention in downtown Charlotte, N.C., July 23-27. Live streaming will begin with the annual memorial service at 8:30 a.m. (EDT) on July 24, and continue for the duration of the convention beginning at 8:00 a.m. daily, and culminating with the election and installation of new VFW officers on Wednesday.

Monday’s lineup includes:

  • The presentation of the VFW Armed Forces Award to the U.S. Army Special Forces
  • The VFW Hall of Fame Award to Rob Riggle
  • Appearances by many other notable guests
New this year, the VFW has launched a new mobile app to give attendees the tools needed to make the most of their visit. As the official mobile guide to the 117th VFW National Convention, the app is available in both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

The new app ensures attendees will receive important notifications and reminders throughout the conference, have instant access to the daily agenda, the opportunity to connect with other attendees and more!

With an agenda packed with distinguished guests and presentations, a private performance from the renowned group The Oak Ridge Boys and the installation of the next VFW National Commander Brian Duffy, you won’t want to miss a single thing! Stay updated by searching #VFWConvention on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to follow us on social media or log on to www.vfw.org/conventionlive for regular updates during the convention.

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2015’s Best & Worst States for Military Retirees

 

Source: WalletHub

Overall Rank

State Name

“Economic Environment” Rank

“Quality of Life” Rank

“Health Care” Rank

1 Wyoming 4 7 4
2 Montana 31 12 1
3 South Dakota 7 29 2
4 Maine 19 4 5
5 Florida 16 8 8
6 New Hampshire 12 3 25
7 Alaska 4 6 28
8 North Dakota 8 43 3
9 Oklahoma 6 9 33
10 South Carolina 3 2 43
11 New Mexico 24 32 9
12 Hawaii 27 19 11
13 Iowa 34 14 13
14 Kansas 28 34 6
15 Pennsylvania 33 16 18
16 Texas 10 44 13
17 Missouri 25 15 26
18 Arizona 26 26 22
19 Nebraska 32 25 17
20 Virginia 9 5 49
21 Colorado 19 13 38
22 Maryland 28 11 33
23 Idaho 18 28 30
24 California 49 22 7
25 Wisconsin 36 27 19
26 West Virginia 37 33 12
27 Alabama 1 16 50
28 Georgia 21 30 29
29 Vermont 40 20 23
30 Minnesota 44 22 15
31 Mississippi 2 42 40
32 Kentucky 14 39 32
33 Louisiana 13 37 36
34 Massachusetts 30 49 10
35 Delaware 42 1 41
36 Ohio 23 36 30
37 Tennessee 11 46 33
38 Washington 35 16 36
39 Arkansas 39 30 26
40 Michigan 40 41 21
41 North Carolina 43 24 39
42 Oregon 50 40 24
43 Illinois 46 48 20
44 Connecticut 45 9 48
45 Nevada 15 38 51
46 New Jersey 48 20 44
47 New York 51 45 15
48 Utah 17 47 46
49 District of Columbia 22 51 45
50 Rhode Island 46 34 47
51 Indiana 38 50 42

Complete article here

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Vietnam-era helicopter to Veterans Park in City of Tonawanda

The Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 77 is bringing a AH-1 Cobra Helicopter to Veterans Park in the City of Tonawanda, as it was mentioned in the Buffalo News.

The chapter acquired the helicopter on permanent loan from the Niagara Aerospace Museum and hopes to build a memorial with a brick walkway and the helicopter as its centerpiece. The chapter is using multiple avenues to raise funds for the project, which is expected to cost tens of thousands of dollars.

A campaign to sell engraved bricks for the walkway has raised about $10,000, with hopes to raise $30,000 more, Smilinich said. “It’s open to all veterans, and it’s open to the whole community to put a brick there

If you are interested in a brick, they have a GoFundMe page set up.

The Final Toast


THE FINAL TOAST
They once were among the most universally admired and revered men in the United States .. There were 80 of the Raiders in April 1942, when they carried out one of the most courageous and heart-stirring military operations in this nation’s history. The mere mention of their unit’s name, in those years, would bring tears to the eyes of grateful Americans. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Now only four survive. 
After Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, with the United States reeling and wounded, something dramatic was needed to turn the war effort around. 
Even though there were no friendly airfields close enough to Japan for the United States to launch a retaliation, a daring plan was devised. Sixteen B-25s were modified so that they could take off from the deck of an aircraft carrier. This had never before been tried — sending such bi g, heavy bombers from a carrier. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
The 16 five-man crews, under the command of Lt. Col. James Doolittle, who himself flew the lead plane off the USS Hornet, knew that they would not be able to return to the carrier. They would have to hit Japan and then hope to make it to China for a safe landing. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
But on the day of the raid, the Japanese military caught wind of the plan. The Raiders were told that they would have to take off from much farther out in the Pacific Ocean than they had counted on. They were told that because of this they would not have enough fuel to make it to safety. 
And those men went anyway. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
They bombed Tokyo and then flew as far as they could. Four planes crash-landed; 11 more crews bailed out, and three of the Raiders died. Eight more were captured; three were executed. 
Another died of starvation in a Japanese prison camp. One crew made it to Russia. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shan                                                          grala's The                                                          Final Toast
The Doolittle Raiders sent a message from the United States to its enemies, and to the rest of the world: We will fight. And, no matter what it takes, we will win. 
Of the 80 Raiders, 62 survived the war. They were celebrated as national heroes, models of bravery. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer produced a motion picture based on the raid; “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” starring Spencer Tracy and Van Johnson, was a patriotic and emotional box-office hit, and the phrase became part of the national lexicon. In the movie-theater previews for the film, MGM proclaimed that it was presenting the story “with supreme pride.” 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Beginning in 1946, the surviving Raiders have held a reunion each April, to commemorate the mission. The reunion is in a different city each year. In 1959, the city of Tucson, Arizona, as a gesture of respect and gratitude, presented the Doolittle Raiders with a set of 80 silver goblets. Each goblet was engraved with the name of a Raider. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Every year, a wooden display case bearing all 80 goblets is transported to the reunion city. Each time a Raider passes away, his goblet is turned upside down in the case at the next reunion, as his old friends bear solemn witness. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Al so in the wooden case is a bottle of 1896 Hennessy Very Special cognac. The year is not happenstance: 1896 was when Jimmy Doolittle was born. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
There has always been a plan: When there are only two surviving Raiders, they would open the bottle, at last drink from it, and toast their comrades who preceded them in death. 
As 2013 began, there were five living Raiders; then, in February, Tom Griffin passed away at age 96. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
What a man he was. After bailing out of his plane over a mountainous Chinese forest after the Tokyo raid, he became ill with malaria, and almost died. When he recovered, he was sent to Europe to fly more combat missions. He was shot down, captured, and spent 22 months in a German prisoner of war camp. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
The selflessness of these men, the sheer guts … there was a passage in the Cincinnati Enquirer obituary for Mr. Griffin that, on the surface, had nothing to do with the war, but that was emblematic of the depth of his sense of duty and devotion: 
“When his wife became ill and needed to go into a nursing home, he visited her every day. He walked from his house to the nursing home, fed his wife and at the end of the day brought home her clothes. At night, he washed and ironed her clothes. Then he walked them up to her room the next morning. He did that for three years until her death in 2005.” 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
So now, out of the original 80, only four Raiders remain: Dick Cole (Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Tokyo raid), Robert Hite, Edward Saylor and David Thatcher. All are in their 90s. They have decided that there are too few of them for the public reunions to continue. 
The events in Fort Walton Beach marked the end. It has come full circle; Florida’s nearby Eglin Field was where the Raiders trained in secrecy for the Tokyo mission. The town planned to do all it can to honor the men: a six-day celebration of their valor, including luncheons, a dinner and a parade. 
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Do the men ever wonder if those of us for whom they helped save the country have tended to it in a way that is worthy of their sacrifice? They don’t talk about that, at least not around other people. But if you find yourself near Fort Walton Beach this week, and if you should encounter any of the Raiders, you might want to offer them a word of thanks. I can tell you from first hand observation that they appreciate hearing that they are remembered. 
The men have decided that after this final public reunion they will wait until a later date — some time this year — to get together once more, informally and in absolute privacy. That is when they will open the bottle of brandy. The years are flowing by too swiftly now; they are not going to wait until there are only two of them. 
They will fill the four remaining upturned goblets. And raise them in a toast to those who are gone.  
Shangrala's                                                          The Final                                                          Toast
Their 70th Anniversary Photo 
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PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO EVERYONE 
IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK, ESPECIALLY 
TO THOSE WHO WERE TOO YOUNG TO 
KNOW ABOUT THESE BRAVE HEROES. 
MAY GOD BLESS THEM! 

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Win a Toast with Toby at the VFW National Convention!

Toby Keith has pledged his support to America’s veterans by teaming up with the VFW! For each case of Toby Keith’s Wild Shot Mezcal purchased by VFW Posts, Keith is donating a portion of the proceeds back to the VFW. But now, he’s sweetened the deal…
·        Beginning today, the first 70 Posts to order one case or more will receive a Wild Shot Mezcal bar top liquor dispenser.
·        Posts that order two cases or more now through June 30 will receive a Toby Keith autographed photo or poster.
·        For the next twelve months, the Post that places the highest order of Wild Shot each month will receive a Toby Keith autographed guitar.
·        The commander of the Post with the highest number of Wild Shot cases ordered now through June 30 will receive special access to a private, backstage toast with Toby Keith prior to his performance at the Patriotic Celebration at this year’s VFW National Convention.The respective Department commander will also receive an invitation to the toast.
The VFW and Wild Shot want to make your ordering process as simple as possible. Please find the Wild Shot order form and list of distributors attached here. We’ve also attached an overview of Wild Shot for your information.
If you have any questions or need assistance with your order, please reference the Wild Shot contact information provided on the order form.

Veteran Post Renovations meeting

Here is an email from Jim Bojanowski Past Erie County American Legion Commander.

I have been working with State Assemblyman Michael Kearns for the past few weeks along with many Post leaders from the southtowns on putting together a committee to obtain funds from local wealthy individuals, foundations, and Government to assist Veteran Post homes in Erie County in their upkeep and capital expenses. Areas we would like to assist with are roofs, bathrooms, electrical, parking lots, handicapped access, and potential disaster relief center setup. In other words – major capital needs for Post homes. We are talking trying to get millions of dollars, but we need to be organized in order to obtain this funding. 

 

We believe it is appropriate to reach out to all Veteran Post’s in Erie County and would like your involvement to at least help us communicate to the rest of your organization.

Dennis Fitzgerald from the John Weber Post # 898 has tried to reach out to the other VFW Post, with no success.

 

I am also working to reach out to the AMVETS County Commander. 

 

We plan on having a kickoff press conference at the Matthew Glab American Legion Post # 1477 located on 1965 Abbott Rd. in Lackawanna. This is to be held on Friday May 22 at 10:00 am, just before Memorial Day weekend.  

If you can make it to this event, Go. Let’s get the word out about this, feel free to share.