Veterans Who Served Beyond

“News from the Hut”
for American Legion Post #142; Hominy, Oklahoma.
>>> by Gary Lanham

Being the distant strain of immigrants as most of us are, I truly appreciate what those in our early past brought to our country and our culture. We Americans are mixed bag but I, as most of my veteran family can attest to, join as one for our love and devotion to the flag and what it represents. I see it two Thursday nights a month at our meetings at the Hut. I grew up on so many movies made in the 40’s and though I came out of the turbulent years of the late sixties in Southern California, my dad raised me on John Wayne movies and the genera of earlier times. I guess when I came to Oklahoma, transferred to the USAF Reserves from active duty, Oklahoma just seemed right to me.

Irving Berlin was born on May 11, 1888 in Mogilev, Belarus, Russian Empire. He grew to become the composer and songwriter of “God Bless America”, “Always”, “Blue Skies”, and “White Christmas”. He came to the United States at age 5 and was educated in New York’s public schools. His earliest musical education was from his father, a cantor. He earned honorary degrees from Bucknell University and Temple University. He began his career as a singing waiter in Chinatown. In 1909, he was hired as a staff lyricist by the Ted Snyder Company, and became a partner to that firm four years later.

In 1910, he began doing vaudeville appearances in the United States and abroad. But here is the important part. Berlin enlisted the United States Army infantry in World War I, and was a sergeant at Camp Upton, New York. As many immigrants have done now and in the past Irving raised his hand and made a pledge to serve as Uncle Sam saw fit.

Among his many awards was the Medal for Merit for his 1942 all-soldier show “This Is the Army”, which toured the United States, Europe and South Pacific battle zones; all proceeds were assigned to Army Emergency Relief and other service agencies. Berlin was also a member of the French Legion of Honor and held the Congressional Medal of Honor for “God Bless America”, the proceeds from which went to the God Bless America Fund. His songs were sung by Fred Astaire, Al Jolson, Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Dick Powell, Alice Faye and many others. Irving Berlin died at the age of 101 of natural causes on September 22, 1989 in New York City. This is our salute to those patriots in our past from distant shores who appreciated this country and devoted themselves to it.

Well plans are still in order for a combined Auxiliary and Post Pork Rib Cookout 17th of May at 1800 hrs. Family members of the entire crew may attend. If you are a Veteran looking for some fellowship from those who have been there and done that since WWII come join us.

Mike Street’s contribution to us of his famous art work was purchased with proceeds going to the Hut. Thanks Steve Swinford for your contribution. The HVAC is a work in progress with completion coming in the near future. I spoke with John the other day and things are progressing nicely.

On a final note I would like to thank a local for his contribution to our fundraiser to replace damaged flags for placement at our cemetery as well as Hominy in general. Babo Carter’s annual effort to recognize the heroes of our past (ensuring the freedoms for those of our future) continues. Babo is still seeking contributions and volunteers for this patriotic duty. Call him at 918-885-6041 to donate time or money to this worthy cause. We will be out 9:00 AM (0900 Commander) on Friday May 23rd to begin. I’m in! We will also need help in removal June 2nd at noon. Contact Babo for any details.
Our regular meetings are the first and third Thursday (15 May) meeting at 1900 hrs. Monday morning Koffee Klatch meetings for May are still up and running starting around 0700 till about 0900 if weather cooperating. Dan, Eli, and Jerry usually have things set up where we can catch up on each others mischief and story telling. If you are a veteran come on by. If you have a good story it may end up in print!

About Gary Lanham

Authors the weekly article "News from the Hut", about local American Legion Post #142 in Hominy, OK. Read his weekly articles in the "Hominy News Progress".
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