As commander of the Sons of the American Legion Squadron #49, I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to who we are, what we stand for and our mission.

First of all, the SAL is not a "social club" open only to veterans. On the contrary, our membership is open to any "son" whose father, grandfather, etc. (living or deceased) was honorably discharged from military service. We are the men's auxiliary branch of our American Legion Post 49 in Warsaw.

Sons squadrons place an emphasis on preserving American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation's children, caring for veterans and their families and teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship.

Our mission is to support and assist The American Legion in promoting a wide variety of programs such as veterans programs, Indiana Veterans Home and hospital volunteerism, children's youth projects, fundraising and contributing to local charities serving needy families, the elderly and homeless. Since 1988, The Sons have raised more than $6.9 million for The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation alone. Members have volunteered over 1.3 million hours to date in Veterans Hospitals throughout the country and contributed over $2,500,000 to VA hospitals and VA homes for items such as TVs, radios, medical equipment and clothing. Squadron 49 has been an active participant in these programs and hope to continue in the future.

Let's not forget the ladies. Founded in 1919 during the first National Convention of the American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary has grown to be the world's largest women's patriotic service organization, contributing $293 million to support youth, scholarships and community.

Its mission states that patriotism and veterans advocacy are so important that since its founding, they have served, educated and given to America's finest-our servicemen and women. They have answered the call of "Service Not Self" with three quarters of a million wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers, granddaughters and direct descendants of veterans·who served our great country during times of war. Some are veterans themselves.

Over 12.2 million hours annually are volunteered serving veterans, the military and hometown communities. More than 8000 local units serve our communities with 504,771 volunteer hours spent at American Legion Girls State training our future leaders.

The premise of both organizations are founded upon the following principles: to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a true spirit of Americanism; to preserve the memories of our former members and the associations of our members and our forefathers in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our friendship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness; to adopt in letter and spirit all of the great principles for which the American Legion stands; and to assist in carrying on for God and country.

If you wish to recognize, honor and respect your ancestral heritage for the sacrifices they made to enable you to enjoy the life you live today, come join us. For just one hour a month you can help many who are not as fortunate as you in a tradition that is truly the American way. Applications may be obtained by calling the John C. Peterson Post #49, Warsaw, at 574-267-5549. God bless you and God bless America!