Wow! What a November, and so much to be thankful for, starting with the annual Veterans Day Parade in Huntington, which we always enjoy participating in.

Thank you, Marilyn Davis, for putting this together every year and thank you, Huntington, for always making sure patriotism is shown all over town.

Thank you, Lufkin Band Boosters and Lufkin High School, for a great Honor America Night and for allowing the American Legion Family No. 113 to distribute memorial poppies at this event.

On Nov. 10, the American Legion Auxiliary celebrated its 100th birthday, and what a birthday it was. The American Legion Auxiliary No. 113 and the city of Lufkin joined forces to provide a great special veterans celebration at The Pines Theater. Thank you to Brant Lee and Taylor Commiato with the city of Lufkin for partnering with us and making The Pines Theater possible.

A big thanks to Jimmy Hughes for all his hard work on this project and for emceeing the program and to his beautiful wife, Leigh Ann, for her always inspiring music. Thank you, Mayor Bob Brown, for the wonderful proclamation on this great day.

Thank you to CH (Maj) Kenneth M. Hayman, USAR, Ret. for getting the program started with an inspiring invocation. The Trail Life Troop No. 1807 members Brendon Bohall, Christian Dorsey, Traiton Key and Tristan Minguez did a wonderful job of posting the flags and leading the pledges to both the U.S. and the Texas Flags. Then a young man, Gavin Havard, did a wonderful version of the 1969 Red Skelton Pledge of Allegiance.

Happy Birthday ALA was presented by American Legion Auxiliary No. 113 Chaplain Peggy Krull, followed by some great information on Women in the Military by American Legion Post No. 113 Commander Michele Scuito. Kim McDonald from Nacogdoches introduced the Blue Star Mothers program to Lufkin followed by Barbie and Robert Rhode introducing Mission 22 to the area. Big thanks to Kim, Barbie and Robert.

Big thanks to Cade Cox, who explained the folds of the flag and their meaning while members of the American Legion Family No. 113 folded the flag. Then big thanks and thanks again go to Brianna DiLorenzo for the wonderful background slides during the show and for getting the JAC (Junior American Citizens) from Hudson Middle School to perform.

Thank you to Ayerim Baltazar, Rylee Berwick, Audrey Dunn, Brianna Green, Autumn Hoover, Winter Mahan, Mikaela Preston, Angela Sanchez, Cheslee Stidham and Kalia Thacker, who all did a remarkable presentation to our veterans, and thank you to Mallory Foxworth from Lufkin Middle School and her dad for their participation in this great event.

Thank you to all who have sponsored a wreath or wreaths for this year’s Wreaths Across America. The deadline for sponsoring was Monday and we are waiting on the final tally. We hope to see a large crowd at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at Garden of Memories on U.S. Highway 59 for a touching ceremony followed by the laying of the wreaths.

Why wait until the last minute every year? Once the deadline has passed for one year, the next year is opened, so you can sponsor all year long. Why not set up a monthly sponsorship at work, school, church or civic organization? Put a jar on the table in the break room, classroom, etc., and have someone assigned to collect it each month.

Unfortunately, we have never had a wreath for every veteran in Garden of Memories and you can’t imagine telling a child who wants to place a wreath on a veteran’s grave that they are all gone and we didn’t have enough for every veteran because not enough people sponsored wreaths.

Your sponsorship of $15 does more than just place a wreath on a veteran’s grave at Christmas; it also helps purchase grave marker flags for veterans on Memorial Day weekend and a portion goes into our education fund for scholarships for veterans and children of veterans.

The entire American Legion Family No. 113 (Post, Auxiliary, ALA Juniors and SAL) wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

For those who may not know or who get confused: The Post are the actual veterans, both male and female. The Auxiliary (ALA) is the support arm of the Post and is comprised of the spouses of the veterans and the mothers, daughters, sisters, grandmothers and granddaughters of the veterans. The ALA Juniors are girls from birth to age 18 and elect their own officers, hold their own meetings, have their own fundraisers and have their own programs with only adult supervision. This year the word “wife” was changed to “spouse,” and now non-military husbands of female veterans are eligible for the Auxiliary. The SAL (Sons of American Legion) is for the non-military sons of veterans regardless of age.

If you are a veteran with an honorable discharge or the spouse or immediate family member of a veteran, please consider joining our ranks in support of so many that are unable to do so themselves.

We meet monthly on the first Monday at the Angelina Senior Citizens Center and would welcome your visit. The Auxiliary meets at 5:30 p.m. and the Post meets at 6 p.m.

Rita Redd is the president of the American Legion Auxiliary 113. Her email address is ala113@consolidated.net.