By Tara Mathews
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN Lester Prairie American Legion hosted its annual dinner at Lester Prairie City Hall Thursday.
The guest speaker was Minnesota American Legion Commander Peggy Moon.
She spoke about celebrating courage and staying involved in Legion organizations.
“We are the heart and soul of the American Legion,” Moon said.
The importance of organizations stretches beyond finance, she added.
“People say Legions are dying,” Moon commented. “In the US, we have more American Legion posts than McDonalds. We have more American Legion posts than Starbucks. If we have more than them, I think we are doing pretty damn well.”
Legion member numbers have decreased over the years, but it is not due to lack of interest, she added.
“Of course the member numbers are down. In World War II, every available young man was involved in the war, so there were more veterans,” Moon noted.
It is also important to make sure the next generation knows veterans, according to Moon.
“The kids now are going to be our governors, senators, and presidents,” she stated. “They need to know veterans, and what they are.”
Moon encouraged members of the Legion to help get boys involved in the American Legion Boys State program, which is a course where boys learn about the structure of government and why it’s important to remain involved.
There are young men who decided to follow politics, or enlist in a military branch after attending American Legion Boys State, Moon said.
She expressed her appreciation to Lester Prairie American Legion members for their help in keeping the organization alive.
“I’m very proud of the American Legion and its organizations,” Moon concluded.
Moon was installed as state commander in July 2014. She is the 98th state commander, and the first woman to hold the position.
She served in the US Air Force, and is a Vietnam veteran.
Moon has been involved in numerous Legion and community organizations including National American Legion and the Minnesota Gambling Board.
She has made more than 90 appearances since being installed as state commander.
Letters to Vets
Students from Lester Prairie Elementary School wrote letters to veterans, and American Legion Auxiliary members read them at the dinner. Some of the comments included:
• “I like that you came to our school and talked about Veterans Day.” Kayla, 4th grade.
• “It is very brave of you to serve our country. I appreciate your service for this country.” Blake, 5th grade.
• “Make sure to be safe when you fight.” Brooke, 4th grade.
• “Veterans are the best because they help others.” Sarai, 4th grade.
• “You are the best veterans because you helped my town be free.” Karli, 4th grade.
• “I love living in the United States because veterans keep it safe and free.” Tanner, 4th grade.
• “That was nice of you for risking your life for me and other people. I’m very proud.” Kennedie, 4th grade.
• “Thank you for serving or going to serve for our country.” Riley, 5th grade.