By OC O’Connor, Commander, American Legion Post 221
We all have something to be thankful for, sometimes it takes a little extra self-searching. As we reflect back on the past couple months, our American Legion Family members of Post 221, Bedford have a lot to be thankful for. Every day we are thankful for Veterans who stood up to answer the call to duty for our country.
Especially around the holidays, we appreciate more openly and joyously what we have been blessed with.
For instance, our Post, along with The VFW, hosted the 44th Annual Senior Thanksgiving Dinner. Yes, this tradition started in 1974. The year when Nixon resigned, gas lines crazed the nation, and the average yearly income was $8,000.
This year, Genetti Hall was packed with seniors who enjoyed all the turkey and fix’ns once again. Our Legion & VFW Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and Legion Rider volunteers were supported by donations from Bedford Fire & Police and individuals. A really big thank you goes out to the COA for all their assistance keeping this Bedford tradition alive and well !
In December, District 5 of the American Legion held its annual Christmas Party at the Bedford VA. American Legion Family volunteers served pizza & cake to the VA patients. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful VA and VA staff as part of our home community. Holiday songs were sung, sometimes people even remembered the words … The biggest hit was when a local farm brought some cuddly bunnies, ducks, chickens, goats and an adorable pig to visit with the patients. One of our volunteers exclaimed how one of the Veterans’ eyes tripled in size at the sight of the animals being brought to his bedside. Giving to others, especially those who gave themselves, offers joy to both giver and receiver, well beyond what anyone can imagine.
When you think of all that the VA does for those Vets, you think of the extraordinary care they receive, and when you are able to assist even in such a very small way to bring a smile to their faces; well, a perspective of thankfulness dominates your heart – no matter how tough a day you thought you were having.
And finally, “While visions of sugar plums danc’d in their heads” local children will receive gifts for Christmas that may never have been possible. Hey! Move over Rudolph with all your reindeer friends, because at the end of October, almost 7,500 horses (or 12,000 plus cc’s) worth of motorcycles roared through Bedford on the longest running Charity Toy Ride in Massachusetts. Members of the American Legion Riders helped the MMA host this ride with all sorts of gifts, food, fun and pride. Special shout out to Police Officer Motor units from The Northeastern Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) guiding us throughout our ride.
All of Santa’s helpers in our American Legion Family are very thankful to be able to give back to the great community we call home: Bedford, MA 01730