Armed Forces Day May 21 2022
Today being Armed Forces Day compels me to remind one and all that Forces
includes womens forces, past, present and future.
Remember the very old insult: “Aw, your mama wears combat boots!”? Well,
mothers did and do wear combat boots. My husband would tease and say: “How
am I going to tell my children their mother was a sailor?”
I especially like the t-shirt emblazoned with the American Flag and the words:
“You don’t want to mess with a lady that has a Form DD214.”
There was a time when being female and in the military was considered out of the
ordinary, a real oddity. Yet women have been a vital part of the military for all of
our American History. We were (for decades) the military’s secret weapon.
Not anymore!!
Today’s military woman is literally in the trenches, serving aboard ships, jumping
out of airplanes, serving in combat, flying fighter jets and rising in the ranks –even
becoming generals and admirals. Sadly, There is even a history of female MIAs.
The courage of the military woman today far exceeds the courage it took for me
to join the Navy – way back when. All I did was sit at a typewriter with earphones
on. (Yeah, I know, what’s a typewriter?). I was a Radioman – strictly a shore
billet. And today some still sit at typewriters now known as computers.
My first day at boot camp we were marched into a building with a sign over the
door that read: “Through these portals pass the greatest women in the world.”
I didn’t really understand, or even believe that sign then. Today? When I look at
todays military women, I do, in fact see some of the greatest women in the world.
The times I have had occasion to meet and speak with these brave and awesome
women, invariably, one of them thanks me personally for having gone before her.
That’s a pretty incredible feeling.
So when you see a lady in uniform, by all means, thank her for her service. And
when you meet a lady veteran who served, thank her for her service and welcome
her home too. And ask her to join the American Legion.


In my American Legion career, I have held numerous offices, been mentored by some great
Legionnaires, have been able to interact with The American Legion Family and have many great
An office I have very much appreciated, admired and honored is the role of Chaplain, and like
most of you, as an observer. Thanks to the appointment by District Commander David
Brambila, I now have the opportunity to sit in the Chaplain’s chair. I pray I do the office honor.
Thank you Commander David.
The Eleventh Hour observance has always been honored. TAPS continues to give me chills and
strong emotions. The personal experience of being at a funeral for a husband, a brother, two
brothers-in-law and too many close friends is more than meaningful. For thirteen years I
volunteered at Riverside National Cemetery, first on The Memorial Honor Detail, Team 5 and
when they disbanded I volunteered as an MHD dispatcher.
It has been “tradition” to bring the Post List of members that have joined Post Everlasting since
the last meeting. Sadly, these lists were not always complete. Now that we are into the
computer/technology age, let’s take advantage and better serve our comrades. Feel free to
email me names of comrades that have passed AS THEY OCCUR. [email protected]
I had occasion to assist a Marine Corps widow with funeral and burial information resources. I
went on to tell her that her husband’s name had been read and he was honored at the District
Post Everlasting service. Her reaction was initially surprise and then I could hear the gratitude
in her voice as she told me how good it made her feel to know that. These fallen are not just a
name on a list – they are a husband, a wife, a sister, a brother, an in-law, a parent, a
grandparent, but whatever term is used, definitely a loved one.
The American Legion honors their service and sacrifice – and we never forget.
Four Chaplains Day is remembered every February. This year Sunday 6, 2022 was Four
Chaplains Day. This tragedy happened during WWII (February 3, 1943) and is one the newer
generations know little about. I challenge you to find and read the story of the Four Chaplains.
Our Officers Handbook includes Ceremony for Four Chaplains.
I salute Commander David for his article addressing why two posts in Corona are only two miles
apart. Apparently no-one told Commander David, that – up to now – prejudices of the past
District behavior were “skeletons in the closet” and only whispered or gossiped about.
This brings to mind a quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
And since the Commander has “turned the light on” let me tell you about Edward J. Minor Post
418 (Before the time of many). They met at the local Bordwell Park in Riverside and were

referred to as “The Black Post.” They met monthly, paid dues, turned in the required
paperwork (prior to computer days) and seldom attended District meetings. Meetings were
held on a Sunday and that was their day of worship. At the time there was talk of changing
meetings to a Saturday, but for whatever reasons, that did not happen. Post 418 was active in
the community and every February participated in the Riverside February Black History Month
The American Legion was represented as the vehicle they rode in proudly displayed the
American Flag on the right and Post Colors flag on the left – all were wearing nice suits and
Legion covers, as well as big smiles on all.
They were a great bunch of guys. Attending one of their meetings, (I was E-Board West officer
and new to the District) there was talk of turning in their Charter, membership was down and
funds were short. Roy Fate, (District Commander at the time) pledged to pay all dues for the
post to keep them up and running. And Roy did so out of his own pocket. I only know the story
because I was there to witness it. Nothing more was ever said or publicized. Over time, Post
418 eventually turned in their Charter.
I have to say: “Commander David, thank you and bless you for turning on the light! And for
loving The American Legion.
Looking back, when I was elected to E-Board west, my duties were to oversee posts in my
sector. Come meeting time, I would report on my visits and the results. Come election time
and I had been nominated for Third Vice, I was told to expect defeat as my opponent had been
chosen by Department as the favored candidate. I won by 22 delegate votes. A delegate came
up to me afterword and said: “I was going to vote for the other guy like they told me to, but you
were the only one with a report and the only one doing any work, so I voted for you.”
All that to say, when you accept a position/office, do so with the attitude that it will require
work, dedication and lots of love. And report, report, report. When I worked in a hospital
setting, there was an on-going motto: “If you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen.” Write it
down and share with the rest of us. Let us all show the bravery and truth exhibited by our
leader – Light and love. Let prejudices of the past within The American Legion be just that – in
the past.
Any questions, requests, concerns, or just want to talk, I’m available 951-681-4722. Please leave
a message, as I do not answer unknown numbers.
In closing – it is my sad duty to report our comrades that have joined Post Everlasting since our
last meeting of November 7, 2021:
Norco Post 328 – Casey Vanderlie, Francis “Frank” Garcia
Joe Domingues Post 742 – David Esquival, Tony Pino, Cruz Tavitas, Arthur Salgado and Joe
FOR GOD AND COUNTRY. Love and blessings to all. Stay healthy, stay safe. Reach out to a
buddy. Share your light and your love.
Donna Griggs, 21 st District Chaplain