I am concerned that American veterans were insulted earlier this month during the Camp Gordon Johnston celebration on Friday night, March 7.
I am 86 years old, and have worked as a volunteer at the Camp Gordon Johnston Museum for over 10 years.
Every year, Camp Gordon Johnston American Legion Post 82 hosts a dinner and mixer for the visiting veterans, their families and members of the ladies auxiliary the evening before the parade.
Every year I attend the reunion. I worked all day that Friday at the museum, left the museum after 4 p.m., laid down for a few minutes to rest and then went to the Legion at a quarter to six.
The party started at 6 p.m. I sat down at a table that has always been reserved for our party, Mary Britz, Doris Johnson and myself. There was already a big sign that said it was reserved. Nobody was there yet for our table but me. I went into the bar and bought a coke. The bar was full. I got my coke and I went back to the table.
All of a sudden, Tommy Larsen, the post commander, comes up to me and says, “Are you a member of the ladies auxiliary here?”
I said no and he said, “Well, you can’t stay here.”
He was terrible. He told me two or three times, “You have to leave here now.” Nobody else was in the room.
It used to be all of the guys come to the Legion on that Friday night. Every year Mary and I went together and sat at that table. For many years, nothing was ever said about that. Now, they posted a sign outside saying that the post was not open to the public.
When I got home, I didn’t know what to do. I was dumbfounded. My husband of 63 years, Buddy, who was a World War II Marine veteran and a paid-up member of Legion Post 82, died in January.
My neighbor, Wallace Giddens, went to the Legion post to ask Mr. Larsen to apologize, but he said he would not apologize. He said he was not sorry.
The only time I go to the Legion post is every year when they have the reunion. I’m never going to the Legion again. It was so embarrassing. That was like disgracing all of the veterans who were there that night.