Georgia AmLegion Post 304

This Weblog is for the exclusive use of members of Post 304 of the Georgia American Legion in Kennesaw/Acworth, GA. It may be used for numerous purposes but will be primarily a site for communicating information to our members.

If you wish to post a "blog" on this weblog, please contact me at: dburdette488@bellsouth - I will either post it for your or advise you how to do it yourself.

Snail mailing address for the Post: American Legion Post 304, P.O. Box 15, Kennesaw, GA 30156-0015.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The April 20, 2006 Meeting of Post 304 at Our New Facility at the GA Army National Guard Facility Brought a Large Turnout.

A Few of the (almost) Record Crowd at the April 20 Meeting Enjoying Some Conversation: (l-r) Rick Hedger, John Burkhart, Robert Noles (sitting).

There was excitement in the air as the 18 Post members enjoyed their first experience of the "mess hall" at the National Guard Armory.
Jr. Vice-Commander and Legionnaire Rich Ray enjoy a conversation.
"The Situation Report" newsletter Editor Alan Johnson (l) and Jim Stohl discuss Stohl's Petition for H.R. 3676, and his upcoming article for the newsletter.

Post 304 Members Enjoy the New Facilities

(l-r) Jim Stohl, Joe Sims, John Burkhardt, Mike Kettmann and Fred Gaines.

Commander Titshaw wondering; "What did I forget?"

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Here's the winning speech for the 2006 National Oratorical Contest. Perhaps it will inspire some of us to get involved in next year's contest with our local High Schools.

Constitutional Democracy is not a Spectator Sport

Nick Elledge The American Legion of (Knoxville) Tennessee

Welcome to our show, "The Active American, Live." Today, I'm on the street to ask the average American citizen, "What is the biggest problem in America today? And what are you doing to help fix this problem?"

Gasoline Prices (Texan) "Uhh, I been really busy lately."

Health care costs (elderly lady) "I'm a senior citizen on a fixed income ... what can I do?"

The environment dude(Californian) "I'm just hangin'. I'm not really doing anything."

It seems that everyone can name something wrong in America, yet most people remain uninvolved and uninformed. A recent poll by the National Constitution Center found that only one in three Americans could name the three branches of government, and that just one in four could name a single first amendment right. We’ve all heard it said that, freedom comes with responsibility. This is because constitutional democracy is not a spectator sport.

In this speech, I'd like look at some background behind the constitution.

Then explore some of the ideas found in our system of government.

And then, in light of these two, look at the duties and obligations of American citizens.

The framers of the constitution lived in a time of socioeconomic crisis. There were trade wars between Britain and the United States and even between the states themselves. The farmers revolt of 1786 showed that the federal government under the Articles of Confederation was weak. It was more like a fragile league of friendship than the United States of America. Surrounded by British and Spanish colonies, The States were threatened by foreign adversaries. On top of it all, the states began issuing their own currencies, which would have lead to unimaginable economic problems, had not a little document come along we now call, the constitution. What was its purpose? To establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty. At only 4,543 words, it is the shortest, oldest, and first written national constitution. It was both evolutionary and revolutionary. James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, acquired ideas from John Locke, Montesqieu, Blackstone, and even some ancient Greek philosophers. The concepts that went into the constitution were nothing new.

They came from a gradual evolution of ideas. Yet putting them all together into a written national constitution was revolutionary. It had never been done before. This was the creation of the first true constitutional democracy, or as Plato would have termed it, a republic. The founding fathers wanted a balanced government that derived its power from the consent of the governed. In fact, the word democracy comes from two Greek words, demos (which means, the people) and kratos (which means, power or authority). Therefore, democracy literally means government by the people. In the United States, this is accomplished by the free election of public officials. As the colonies found out from Britain, taxation without representation is unjust. Although, I've been told by my parents that, while preferable, taxation with representation isn’t so great either. The constitution also guarantees a balance of power, which is assured in 4 ways: The separation of powers, checks and balances, federalism, and the bill of rights.

The separation of powers shows itself through three, separate but equal branches: the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. Checks and balances are multi-faceted. For example, congress enacts laws, but the president can veto them. The Supreme Court can declare a presidential action unconstitutional, but the president appoints federal justices, with the senate's approval. Federalism refers to the authoritative distinction between the federal and state government. And, the Bill of Rights restricts any government action that would infringe upon a citizen’s individual liberty. The more I study history, the more I am thankful for the freedoms guaranteed in the bill of rights.

I look at an event like Tienimen Square in China, and then reflect on the first amendment, which guarantees the right of the people peaceably to assemble. I learn about religious persecution all over the world, and then see in our constitution that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. I read about the Soviet Union and their secret police, and then see in Amendment 4, the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures. We can rejoice that the Constitution protects our individual rights, but the catch is, freedom comes with responsibility. Constitutional democracy is not a spectator sport. Just look at the beginning of the constitution, "we the people." We have a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people, that derives its power from the consent of the governed.

Constitutional democracies are not merely founded upon the consent of the people; they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people. This past summer, I met a person I will never forget. She was a middle-aged woman with a thick Russian accent and a PhD in history. I sat down to talk with her and noticed she had several scars and marks on her arms. She told me her story, how she was born in the Soviet Union, how as a child she had watched smuggled American movies and been in awe of the all the clothes and cars and food; how she had been involved in protests and marches to change the oppressive Russian government, how she had stood in front of a tank, and how she had been mercilessly beaten. I asked her, "Why did you want to come to America and why would you risk being beaten or even killed?" She looked straight at me with eyes filled with a mix of sorrow and unspeakable happiness, and said "Freedom".

Whenever I hear someone complain about being involved in politics or having to go out vote, I think of that woman from the Soviet Union, who was beaten within an inch of her life trying to have a say in her government, so that she might have constitutional rights, so that she might be free. If my freedom is the envy of the world, and if countless patriotic Americans have died for it, how much more ought I to be active in civic affairs and informed about our founding documents?

The freedoms guaranteed by our constitution are precious, but they are put at risk when we treat government like a spectator sport. At the close of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked by local townspeople what sort of government had been created in the constitution, and he replied, "A Republic, if you can keep it." I don't know about you, but I say, let's keep it.
Berean High School Junior Sweeps to Victory, Earns $18K Scholarship In American Legion Oratorical Contest

INDIANAPOLIS, April 23, 2006 - A high school junior from Knoxville, Tennessee, capped a busy weekend of competition in Indianapolis by earning an $18,000 college scholarship. The title of his winning oration: "The Constitution Is Not A Spectator Sport."Nicholas Russell Elledge started the weekend as one of 52 state champions in the 69th annual American Legion National High School Oratorical Championship and advanced to the top through three rounds of intense competition.

Terrie Linnette Nelson, a freshman at Wayne Christian High School of Goldsboro, North Carolina earned a $16,000 scholarship while Katie Dahlinghaus, a sophomore from Minster High School, Ohio earned a $14,000 college scholarship.

The scholarships account for a small portion of the roughly $3.5 million in post-secondary scholarships that The American Legion, the nation's largest veterans organization, awards annually. In his speech Elledge spoke on the background behind the constitution and how the ideas found in our system of government serve as an overview of our duties and obligations as American citizens."Constitutional democracy is not a spectator sport," Elledge said. "Just look at the beginning of the constitution, 'we the people.' Constitutional democracies are not merely founded upon the consent of the people; they are also absolutely dependent upon the active and informed involvement of the people." "We have a government that is of the people, by the people, and for the people, that derives its power from the consent of the governed."

The American Legion provided lodging, hotel accommodations and transportation for all 52 contestants and their chaperones attending the weekend-long competition here at the University Place Conference Center and Hotel. The site is on the campus of Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis.In each round of the weekend competition, orators delivered a rehearsed 8- to 10-minute address and a randomly assigned 3- to 5-minute oration on a constitutional topic, each without the benefit of notes and in front of a live audience, including the judges.

The 2.8-million member American Legion developed the contest to encourage young people to improve their communications skills and to study the U.S. Constitution.Elledge summed up his speech by challenging all Americans to be more active in their government. "If my freedom is the envy of the world, and if countless patriotic Americans have died for it, how much more ought I to be active in civic affairs and informed about our founding documents. The freedoms guaranteed by our constitution are precious, but they are put at risk when we treat government like a spectator sport."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Planning Meeting on Thursday, May 4, 2006
The monthly executive planning committee meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, 2006, at GA Army National Guard facility at 1901 McCollum Parkway, Kennesaw. It will be in the Board Room. The meeting should adjourn by 8:30. All members of Post 304 are encouraged to attend. Reservations are not required ;-)
Area Contestants Caleb Smith (l - Area Winner) and Post 304 Contestant Andrew Jones (r - Second Place)
Our Area and Department Oratorical Contestant Was in Top 9 Nationally

The 69th annual National High School Oratorical Contest Finals were held this past weekend, April 22 - 23, 2006 at the Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis Conference Center and Hotel. The 52 Department winners who entered the National Competition were all outstanding representatives of today's youth.
The winners were:
First Place Nicholas Elledge (TN) $18,000
Second Place Terrie Nelson (NC) $16,000
Third Place Katie Dahlinghaus (OH) $14,000

The following competed in the semi-final contest and will receive a $3,000 scholarship ($1,500 for having competed in the quarter-final contest and an additional $1,500 for competing in the semi-final contest but not advancing to the finals): Mustafizur Rahman (FL); Caleb Smith (GA); Mayur Kasetty (MA); Rory Eaton (NY); Rebecca Shelton (ND); and Laura Koller (PA).

Caleb Smith, the Department of GA winner, represents the Cartersville, GA Post.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Talk about your Post pride! Take a look at our Color Guard for Big Shanty Days!!!

Here's a picture of American Legion Post 304 members who provided the "color" in the Big Shanty Days Festival Parade, Kennesaw Ga, on Saturday April 22, 2006. Participating were Commander Bob Titshaw (left Honor Guard), Post Parade Chairman Richard Ray (carrying Post Flag), Chaplain Robert Noles (carrying U.S. Flag), Jr. V.C. Fred Gaines (right Honor Guard).

The weather was questionable, as showers and thunderstorms had preceded the appointed time for the parade start. However, the weather cooperated and this fine-looking color guard was up to the two-mile trek and represented us well. Thanks, guys!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

KSU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Presents Free WWII Discussion Group Featuring Local Veterans

On Thursday, May 4th, The Kennesaw State University Osher Lifelong Learning Institute of Continuing Education presents a FREE WWII Discussion Group featuring some of our local veterans.

WWII remains one of the most intriguing times in modern history. The strategic brilliance, battlefield misses, and the fight between good and evil continue to tease our curiosity and to even take center stage in today’s political commentary. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to hear from and ask questions of American servicemen who each played a part in this significant historical event.

People of all ages are invited to participate in this FREE WWII Discussion Group featuring local veterans:

Otis Ragsdale - Air Force Co-Pilot B24 - 15th AF, Italy

Al Rector - Army European, Belgium, Germany
Hal Barton - Air force C-47 Pilot
William Day P-51 Pilot - South Pacific
Ross Reeves - Air Force - Panama Canal, India, China
Harry Livingston - Air force - former POW

Refreshments will be served.

FREE, reservations required. Please call 770-423-6765 or visit us online at and register for event # 064-SORI-0040D.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Meeting on Thursday, April 20th, is Extremely Important!

Thursday evening’s meeting is very important in that, among other things, the Nominating Committee will present its recommendations for Post Officers for the upcoming 2006-2007 year. The Nominating Committee is Jr.-Vice Commander Fred Gaines, Sgt.-at-Arms Howard Daniel and member Richard Ray. The meeting is Thursday, April 20.

The selections are important as we have all felt a certain “ground swell” of interest and enthusiasm during the past several months and the selection of our leaders must assure that that momentum will continue.

While the Nominating Committee will recommend Legionnaires for as many officer slots as possible, there will be a number of positions, including Committee Chairs and members, that will be open.

Offices up for election include: Commander, Senior Vice Commander, Junior Vice Commander (need 2 or 3), Finance Officer, Judge Advocate, and Service Officer. The new Commander will appoint Adjutant, Historian, Chaplain and Sergeant-at-Arms in accordance with our Constitution, Article V.

Chairmen are needed for the following Committees: Boys State, National Oratorical Contest, and Community Events. As the following Committees are chaired by various Post Officers, members are needed to fill these Committees: Budget, Membership, House and Entertainment, Legal/Audit, Finance, Publicity, VA Rehab, Americanism. Members will also be needed for: Post Home, Boys State, National Oratorical Contest and Community Events.

At the upcoming meeting, a list of the officer positions will be available for write-ins and the openings for the many Committees that need to be filled. You will have a wide choice for inserting your name for consideration. Elections will be held at the following meeting in May. Your input will be important on Thursday, April 20, and will greatly help the Post’s efforts to recognize our veterans, help the youth of North Cobb County and participate in community events. Your military service and leadership abilities are needed.

Will you serve? Again?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Regular Membership Meeting
Thursday Evening, April 20, 2006

Post 304's General Membership meeting is Thursday, April 20, 2006, at the GA Army National Guard facility at 1901 McCollum Pkwy., Kennesaw. The facility is across the street from McCollum Airfield (you'll recognize it 'cause it has a big, 155mm cannon in front). Doors open at 7:00 p.m. and the business meeting will start at 7:15. The Auxiliary will also meet at the facility in the Board room; we will meet in the mess hall. Please park in back of the building and enter through the back door in the center of the building.

Don't forget that there will be a 50/50 raffle and an attendance drawing from the active membeship rolls that could be worth almost $700. to the lucky winner. The ladies will also have a 50/50 drawing and will no doubt offer it to us.

The new meeting place is great! We held our first planning meeting there a week or so ago and we weren't interrupted by train whistles, loud air conditioner, or anything else unexpected. You'll enjoy the meeting place, too, so come on out! We look forward to seeing you.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Looking For a Few Good Men - To March in the
April 22, 2006 Big Shanty Days Parade

Post 304 Legionnaire Richard Ray is looking for a couple of able volunteers to join the Post 304 Color Guard to march in the Big Shanty Days' parade on Saturday morning. The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. (you'll have to be there by 9:00 a.m.) at Adams Park in Kennesaw. The march will be a couple of miles. If you would like to participate as guard or color bearer, call Rich at (770) 427-3397. Your fellow Legionnaires will appreciate your involvement.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Majority leader urges colleagues to vote for Old Glory’s protection

By Bill Frist
U.S. Senate Majority Leader

Ever since the Boy Scouts first taught me how to care for our flag over 40 years ago, it has always held a special place in my heart. We begin our work day in the U.S. Senate with the Pledge of Allegiance, and I proudly display the flag outside my offices in Washington.
Like over 80 percent of Americans and all 50 of our state legislatures, I believe that the U.S. Constitution should allow the federal government to protect our flag. Since 1989, however, the Supreme Court has overturned 200 years of precedent and struck down all laws that prohibit flag desecration.
Since I first won election to the Senate in 1994, I have supported a constitutional amendment to protect our flag. At every stage, The American Legion has provided invaluable assistance. Despite continual, bipartisan efforts to pass a flag-protection amendment, and support from an overwhelming majority of House and Senate members, the measure has repeatedly failed to get the 67 votes it needs to pass the Senate.
I hope things will change this year.
Before Congress adjourns for its July Fourth recess – most probably during the week of June 26 – I will put before the Senate a one-sentence amendment to the Constitution: “The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States.” I plan to argue for it on the Senate floor, and I hope my colleagues will vote for it.
Many Americans have come to see the flag as a sacred symbol of our nation and its values. Americans have the right, and sometimes the duty, to protest government actions. Those who dislike American values have the right to express their opinions even when they are offensive. But I do not believe that the right to desecrate a symbol like our flag belongs in the same category.
In conversation with veterans, teachers, police officers, public servants and other Americans from every walk of life, I’ve come to see that the flag is a vitally important symbol with a near-sacred civic meaning. All too many veterans have seen comrades die defending the flag, and nearly all Americans who have traveled abroad know the feelings of pride the flag evokes upon a return home. The flag stands for our nation but also for its values: freedom, justice, independence, equality and, ultimately, the people themselves. An attack on the flag isn’t just an issue of fundamental disagreement with the government but rather an attack on our country and her people.
We should promote all manner of free political discussion, but we cannot allow the gross offense and indecency of flag desecration. People who would otherwise desecrate flags can still say whatever they want, but they should not be allowed to take actions that so offend the vast majority of Americans.
The founders devised a process to amend the Constitution specifically so that the people, through their elected representatives, could bring our country’s most fundamental laws into line with their values. It’s time we act to protect our flag and the values it represents. I hope this June that the Senate will stand up for American values and pass the flag-protection amendment.
Post 304 Planning Meeting Tuesday, April 11, at the National Guard Armory

Please plan on meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the National Guard Armory at 1901 McCollum Pkwy., in Kennesaw. Please park your vehicle at the rear of the building and enter through the back door in the middle of the building.

To be discussed, among other things, will be the firm creation of a Post Home Fund plan and establishing a steering committee to make a post home a reality. Also to be discussed will be ideas for fund raising for the coming year and Committee participation.

Hope to see you there on Tuesday.

This short article appeared in the April issue of The American Legion Magazine. It is a remarkable image, and so are the other military images on the website:
I have put a link to the website under "Links" to the right of this post. Enjoy.