American Legion Emblem

Legion News

How to protect yourself from cybercrimes


I frequently use the internet to pay bills, shop and keeping up with my grandchildren on social media. But a few months ago, my computer was infected with malware and a cyber hacker opened a credit card using my identity. Do you have any tips to help me stay safe while online?

Cybercrimes, especially against seniors, continues to be a major problem in the United States. According to the FBI’s 2022 Elder Fraud Report, cybercrimes cost Americans over 60 more than $3 billion last year, an 84% increase from 2021.

While anyone can be a victim of cybercrimes, seniors are frequent targets because they tend to have more money than their younger counterparts. But there are several things you can do to protect yourself from online fraud, hacking and scams. Here are a few tips.

Strengthen your passwords A strong password should contain at least 12 characters and include numbers and a special character, such as an exclamation point or asterisk. Be sure to have unique passwords across different sites and applications to ensure that a hacker would not gain access to all of your accounts through one password. Use an encrypted and trusted password manager to store all your passwords. If you keep a written list of all your passwords, make sure you store it in a safe, secure place. Avoid storing passwords on devices using the “remember me” feature as it only increases your chances of being hacked. When using smartphones or tablets, be sure to set up a password to access and protect your device in the event it is lost or stolen.

Opt out of pop-ups To protect yourself from computer viruses and other forms of malware, avoid any pop-up style message when you are on a website. Additionally, internet browsers provide options to customize settings, including the ability to disable pop-ups for added security. Hackers often disguise their malware as pop-up advertisements or "special offers" when you are shopping or reading online. Clicking on these pop-ups can lead to viruses or data breaches. If you encounter a suspicious pop-up message, do not click on anything in the window. Simply leave the site or close out of your web browser.

When in doubt, throw it out Sometimes online hackers will engage in a tactic known as phishing. The hacker will send an email or text message and pretend to be someone to convince a victim to share valuable information with them, such as Social Security number, address or credit card information. If you receive a suspicious message from an unknown sender, do not respond or click on any links or attachments. Instead, delete the message, or if you are on a work email, follow your employer's phishing protocol and report the message as phishing.

Share with care It is possible to overshare information online. This applies to private information you may post on various online profile accounts. Using popular social media platforms makes it easier for hackers to collect information about you based on what you share, including details like your home address and personal contact information. Ensure that your privacy settings are up to date so that only people who follow you can see your posts. Be mindful not to post information that may be related to security challenge questions or financial accounts.

Verify websites Before you shop or access your bank online, double-check the validity of the website you are using. Reputable websites use technologies such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) that encrypt data during transmission. You will see a padlock icon in your browser, and usually "https" at the front of your address bar to confirm it is a secure connection. If you do not see it in the web address you are on, you should not trust that website with your passwords, payment or banking information.

Have some backup While practicing safe habits can protect you and your information, you do not have to solely rely on your own efforts to stay safe. Anti-virus software can be used to prevent and detect viruses or other types of malwares from your computer. It works in the background and helps make it easier to avoid threats while on the internet.

For more information on how to safeguard your personal technology devices and personal information, visit and search "Protect Your Personal Information and Data." To report fraud or identity theft, go to either or

“Savvy Living” is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to NBC’s “Today Show.” The column, and others like it, is available to read via The American Legion’s Planned Giving program, a way of establishing your legacy of support for the organization while providing for your current financial needs. Learn more about the process, and the variety of charitable programs you can benefit, at Clicking on “Learn more” will bring up an “E-newsletter” button, where you can sign up for regular information from Planned Giving.

Stand for the Four Pillars, stand for the Legion Family

Greetings, Sons of The American Legion,

We are off and working to make 2023-24 a great year! What an honor to be elected as your national commander and be able to represent my grandfather’s service in the Army during World War II.

“Representing More Than Me” is my slogan for the year because I truly believe that is what the Sons of The American Legion should be all about. As we sign the membership paper it is a commitment to pay respect to our family member’s service in our military. Let’s make sure that our commitment is worth the sacrifices they made.

I believe in the Four Pillars of our organization, and what they stand for. The American Legion was built believing in Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, Americanism, Children & Youth and National Security and they are still the core beliefs of what the American Legion Family stands for. I have issued a commander’s challenge to all squadrons to support the Four Pillars and become a National Four Pillar Squadron. To do so, all you need to do is raise one dollar per member each for Operation Comfort Warriors (VA&R), the Child Welfare Foundation (Children & Youth) and your department’s Boys State program (Americanism) and hold a blood drive (National Security). You will then receive an award for being a National Four Pillar Squadron. That is not that hard to do, if we plan and work to get it done.

I believe that the Sons of The American Legion can reach new heights and crush our records for hours volunteered and donations. It will take all of us working and believing in the work we do to help our veterans, children and community. Aaron Tippin sang a song that said, “You’ve got to stand for something or you will fall for anything.” Let’s stand for what is right and show that our family’s service is worth all of us being the best Son we can be. “Be the One” in more ways than one.

“Representing More Than Me”


Donald L. “JR” Hall, Jr.

National Commander

Sons of The American Legion 


SAL donates $250K to Veterans & Children Foundation

The Sons of The American Legion approved a $250,000 donation to the Veterans & Children Foundation during the SAL’s 51st National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.

The donation from the SAL Reserve Fund met the guidelines set by a 2017 American Legion resolution that establishes a ceiling for the fund and calls for money in excess of that ceiling to be transferred “to an approved American Legion charity for America’s veterans or youth.”

“The Sons of The American Legion always strive to support our nation’s veterans and youth, and being able to provide this kind of support all at once to the Veterans & Children Foundation is something that every SAL member should be proud of,” said SAL National Commander Donald L. “JR” Hall, Jr.


VA awards $52.5 million for preventing veteran suicide

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Sept. 20 awarded $52.5 million in grants to 80 community-based organizations working to prevent veteran suicides.

The grants, part of the Staff Sergeant Parker Gordon Fox Suicide Prevention Grant Program, were awarded to organizations in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and American Samoa. They will help these organizations provide or coordinate the provision of suicide prevention services for eligible veterans and their families. For more information and the list of awardees, visit the SSG Fox SPGP website.

Reducing the rate of veterans who die by suicide is the focus of The American Legion’s highest priority, Be the One. The mission is aimed at reducing the perceived stigma associated with mental health treatment, raising awareness about the issue and empowering everyone to take the appropriate action when a veteran may be at risk.

Additionally, VA announced:

Its new PSAs on suicide prevention: The PSA directs viewers to the website where veterans and family members can navigate a range of resources available to help in a time of need. That’s why the new PSA asks the question: “When was the last time you asked for help?” Learn more here.

New program yields results: More than 32,000 veterans in crisis have received free emergency health care under a new VA program. Since Jan. 17, veterans in acute suicidal crisis have been able to go to any VA or non-VA health-care facility for emergency health care at no cost – including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days.

988 number hits milestone: Since the launch of “Dial 988 then press 1” as the shortened Veterans Crisis Line number in July 2022, the crisis line has fielded more than 1.1 million contacts. This includes over 953,000 calls, an increase of 12.1% from the same timeframe from the previous year, with an average speed to answer of 9.48 seconds. There was also a year-over-year increase in text messages (58.1%) and online chats received (10%).

“There is nothing more important to VA than preventing veteran suicide — nothing,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough said. “One veteran suicide is one too many, and VA will continue to use every tool at our disposal to prevent these tragedies and save veterans’ lives.” 

DoD announces effort to make it easier for those discharged for sexual orientation to obtain corrective relief

On the 12th anniversary of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), Department of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced an effort to make it more accessible and efficient for veterans who were discharged based on their sexual orientation to obtain corrective relief. This includes the launch of a new web platform that consolidates DADT resources.

“Over the past decade, we’ve tried to make it easier for servicemembers discharged based on their sexual orientation to obtain corrective relief,” Austin said in a statement. “While this process can be difficult to navigate, we are working to make it more accessible and efficient. In the coming weeks, we will be initiating new outreach campaigns to encourage all servicemembers and veterans who believe they have suffered an error or injustice to seek correction to their military records.” 

During a Pentagon briefing earlier today, Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen Hicks provided more details about her department’s new initiative. “DoD will, for the first time, begin proactively reviewing the military records of veterans discharged because of their sexual orientation, who may be eligible for discharge upgrades, but have not yet applied,” she said. “We’ll start with those discharged during the period of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Where the VA and the National Archives might have digitized records that can help expedite our review, we’ll seek to collaborate with them. And when we find indications that someone’s less-than-honorable discharge was due to their sexual orientation, we’ll put their name forward to their respective military department’s review board for consideration. As we do this, we will be laser-focused on preserving the privacy and dignity of each veteran.”

Florida Legion Riders both honor POW/MIAs and their families while educating public on the issue

Three years ago, Florida’s American Legion Riders started their Seven Bridges POW/MIA Remembrance Day Ride & Ceremony. Around 160 riders and 40 passengers took part in the ride, which starts at Adamec Harley-Davidson in Jacksonville, traverses the Seven Bridges of Jacksonville that cross the St. John’s River and finishes at the National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum for a ceremony.

A similar ride took place in 2022 on the Saturday after National POW/MIA Recognition Day, with more than 200 motorcycles taking part. And this year’s ride, which took place Sept. 16, blew those numbers out of the water: 248 motorcycles and a total of 361 participants.

But as happy as he is to see participation continue to grow, Department of Florida POW-MIA Chairman Denny Luke – a Legion Rider and member of Dewitt B. Tilden Memorial American Legion Post 316 in Atlantic Beach – it’s the impact of the ride’s mission that really hit home for Luke.

He shared a message he received following this year’s ride from one of its participants:

“Dear sir,

This is our first time to participate in this ride of remembrance for our POW and MIA servicemembers. My husband is a Vietnam veteran, and I am a Gold Star Daughter (of a Vietnam War KIA). He was MIA for a short time, and it seemed like an eternity of living hell, of not knowing and hoping. Thank you so much for honoring the POW/MIA daddies, and especially the dad of mine and my siblings.”

It makes you very emotional,” Luke said. “There were a lot of people on the ride or at the ceremony who were POWs or are relatives of POWs/MIAs. Any of us who have worn the uniform … we’ve sat down and had a meal with a (fellow servicemember, watched them walk out the door, and the next time we’d see them would be in a flag-draped coffin.

“I can’t imagine the heartache of watching your buddy walk through the door and never return. I cannot imagine the strife that family members have when they get the message that their loved one is MIA. To me, that’s unimaginable, and I’m honored to honor their sacrifice.”

Department of Florida Commander Michael Raymond, American Legion Auxiliary Department President Dee Bell and Sons of The American Legion Detachment Commander Gerard Sambets were among the Florida Legion Family leadership who attended the event, with Raymond and Bell riding on the back of motorcycles.

During the ceremony that took place at the National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum, attendees heard from Meghan Wagoner, the daughter of former U.S. Navy pilot Scott Speicher. Shot down on the first day of Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Speicher was missing in action until his remains were found by U.S. Marines in Iraq in 2009.

“She gave a very emotional and moving rendition of everything they went through,” Luke said of Wagoner’s address. “They had about 18 years of not knowing.”

Luke said the purpose of the ride and ceremony isn’t just to honor U.S. POWs and MIAs and show support for their families. It’s about educating the general public that more than 80,000 servicemembers remain unaccounted for since World War II.

“We put out that the (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency) needs DNA samples from any relatives of servicemembers who are MIA,” Luke said. “If we can get the word out, quite possibly the remains that have been found but not identified can be identified and brought home. We put this ride on to inform the public the hunt is not over, and they can help by either volunteering, or if they’re a relative of an MIA they can submit a DNA sample, and hopefully we can repatriate some of these souls.”

VA encourages veterans to reach out for help

In support of National Suicide Prevention Month, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has released a new public service announcement as part of its national campaign, “Don’t Wait. Reach Out.” The PSA directs viewers to the website where veterans and family members can navigate a range of resources available to help in a time of need. That’s why the new PSA asks the question: “When was the last time you asked for help?”

“We are driving everyone we can to this website because it is just chockful of resources,” said Bobbi Hauptmann, communications specialist for the Veterans Health Administration Office of Communications, during a VA-held veteran service organization communicators meeting. “Know that this was done with veterans, for veterans and Ad Council has been a fantastic partner in making this accessible and easy to use, easy to navigate.”

When veterans visit, they have two options to navigate the site – by clicking the yellow “Explore Resources” button or by browsing by category. The categories are:

·         Career challenges

·         Education challenges

·         Experiencing grief or loss

·         Feelings of depression

·         Feelings of isolation

·         Health challenges

·         Life transitions

·         Living with a disability

·         Money challenges

·         Post-traumatic stress disorder

·         Relationship challenges

·         Substance use challenges

Once a category is clicked on, a list of curated resources will appear with most of the resources coming from the VA website. And a veteran in immediate need of help will find access to the Veterans Crisis Line at the top and bottom of the page.

The PSA and other materials supporting the campaign and Suicide Prevention Month are available for anyone to use at

Support our immigrant veterans

Dear American Legion Family members and friends, 

Every day, a group of 45,000 honorable servicemembers risk their lives to keep America safe. Their patriotism, selfless service and love for our country is no different than ours.

However, too often they find their path to U.S. citizenship a complicated, bureaucratic maze filled with uncertainty. And instead of becoming American citizens through their military service, these veterans are denied that opportunity and left to find a new homeland, or risk their life to return to their native country.

The American Legion supports H.R. 4569, the Veteran Service Recognition Act of 2023, which honors the sacrifices of our immigrant servicemembers by giving them enhanced opportunities to become U.S. citizens and preventing their unjust deportation from the country they swore an oath to defend.

Reps. Mark Takano, D-Calif., and Maria Elvira Salazar, R-Fla., are co-sponsoring the bipartisan legislation. In a letter I sent to them, I wrote, “Men and women who served honorably should not face undue barriers to citizenship or face deportation from the country they served or fought to defend. Congress must act to ensure our nation honors the service of non-citizen immigrants who have honorably served our nation.”

As veterans, we owe it to our brothers and sisters who are caught in this quagmire. While our birthplaces may be different, our love of country is the same.

Join The American Legion in calling for Congress to streamline the process for immigrant veterans to more easily obtain their citizenship which they earned through their service to our country. Sign up for our Grassroots Action Center so you can easily contact your representative and encourage them to support this legislation.

Thank you for your support and your continued service to making this nation the greatest one on earth.

National Commander  

Daniel J. Seehafer 


Two CWF recipients share impact of grant

Two 2023 American Legion Child Welfare Foundation grant recipients spoke during the virtual Children & Youth Conference on Sept. 16 about how the CWF grant is supporting their organization’s mission.

Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation was awarded $9,450 for its project “Heads UP Pittsburgh: Baseline Concussion Testing Partnership.” The grant is helping to provide baseline concussion testing and education for youth.

The mission of the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation is to “be the champions of all youth in our community, on and off the ice, through the power of hockey.” The mission is supported through four pillars: wellness; youth hockey; education; and community. The Heads UP Pittsburgh Concussion Baseline Program falls under the wellness pillar.

The concussion baseline testing, known as ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), started in 2011 and began pediatric testing in 2015. ImPACT was developed in 1999 by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Sports Medicine physicians and “is the first and only concussion-specific medical device to be approved by the FDA,” said Rob Dingle, HSD, LAT, ATC, concussion outreach coordinator for UPMC Sports Medicine. Over 30,500 tests have been administered to Pittsburgh area youth, as well as concussion education provided. “That is in itself pretty remarkable. The program just continues to grow.”

The computerized test provides data. “The test itself does not diagnosis a concussion,” Dingle emphasized. “The data that the test presents along with the bigger more important part of the whole process is the doctor coming in, performing a very thorough evaluation. That data helps reinforce what the doctor finds.”

There are two versions of the test – adult (ages 10-plus) and pediatric (ages 5-9) – it’s free for youth ages 5-18, and it’s offered in numerous locations throughout the Pittsburgh region. The CWF grant is helping to provide educational fliers and pamphlets for parents about:

·       Concussion overview

·       Common signs and symptoms

·       What to do when injury occurs

·       University of Pittsburgh Medical Center concussion treatment

“The thing with concussions, it doesn’t have to happen from sports. It can happen in everyday life,” Dingle said. “There is still a lot of unknowns, there is still a lot of questions on concussions and that’s why the education part of this is very, very important. Because we feel if we can educate those parents, educate those kids, … make them aware of the proper treatment, the proper things to do when injury does occur.

“Thank you for your support of this program; it is truly appreciated. Thank you for everything The American Legion does to help support kids and youth throughout the country.”

American Kidney Fund of Rockville, Md., was awarded $25,000 for its project “American Kidney Fund Virtual Camp: National Camp for Pediatric Kidney Patients.” This grant will help the American Kidney Fund conduct virtual camps for kids with kidney disease.

Prior to COVID, an in-person camp was held at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore where staff from the American Kidney Fund would spend time with the kids and provide activities. But once COVID hit, “the loneliness and isolation and the challenges the children were having becoming compounded, and so we pivoted from an in-person camp, and we moved to having a virtual camp with monthly activities,” said Daniell Griffin, senior director of Individual Giving for the American Kidney Fund. “Over the last couple of the years, this one virtual camp has now evolved to the National Virtual Camp. This is the fastest-growing program that we have at the American Kidney Fund.

“The greatest impact is seeing that kidney disease does not define who these children are. It increases their confidence and their self-esteem wow decreasing their feelings of isolation and loneliness. But more than anything it also gives them the opportunity to form friendships with other children who have a shared experience.”

In 2023, the camp expanded to include 11 children’s hospital centers across the United States with more 300 children participating. The virtual camp is held over Zoom and includes bingo, trivia night, science, magic and guided art classes. Materials are shipped to every child before the virtual camp at no charge to the families or hospitals that participate. And each child receives a swag bag. “It’s an opportunity for kids to connect with others who truly understand what they are going through,” Griffin said. “It provides children with a break from hospital treatment and allows them to enjoy just being a kid.”

Griffin provided a few camp testimonials:

"I haven't had many opportunities to make friends since starting high school because I was traveling so much for dialysis, had my kidney transplant, was in the hospital a lot, and COVID. This virtual camp has been my only opportunity to make new friends. " Lexie – camper

“She finally gets to feel like she is special. For so long she has been placed on many diet and lifestyle restrictions because of her CKD. This has been the first time she has received something positive from this condition.” Erin – parent

“On behalf of the children, the families, the American Kidney Fund, we just cannot thank you enough for your generosity and support of the National Virtual Camp,” Griffin said. “This program has made such a great impact in the lives of children and families.”


Share your Buddy Check Week plans with us

With the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ first Buddy Check Week scheduled for Oct. 16-20, we’re asking for American Legion Family members taking part in Buddy Check events that week to share their plans with us.

Since 2019, more than 1 million veterans have been contacted by Legion Family members through Buddy Checks. During VA’s Buddy Check Week in October, veterans are asked to make a pledge to contact up to 10 of their battle buddies and friends from service, as well as complete peer wellness, resiliency and S.A.V.E. suicide prevention training.

If your post, district or department is planning a Buddy Check event, please let us know ahead of time so we can possibly arrange coverage through our national media channels. Email with the details for your Buddy Check event: location, date and time, as well as number of participants.

And after your event is finished, please remember to share your stories and photos from the event in the Buddy Check section of Legiontown.

© 2023 Department of New Hampshire | All Rights Reserved

Headquarters Administration