PHOENIX — When New York’s American Legion leaders visited Oswego County Oct. 5, they were treated to some Marine Junior ROTC drilling at Mexico Academy and Central School, a glimpse of the War of Independence in a scenic mural, and a reminder to “Support Our Troops” during lunch at Horning-Fournier American Legion Post 418 in Phoenix.
The visit was capped off with dinner at Prior-Stock American Legion Post 1552 in Hannibal, where NY Legion Commander Kenneth Governor spoke of “Service First” and the Department of New York’s refocusing on the core mission to serve men and women in uniform, veterans and families, and community and nation.
He was joined by New York Auxiliary President Barbara Corker and New York Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Detachment Commander John Chang.
Chang spoke of his passion for the National Emergency Fund, which provides financial assistance to Legion families struck by disaster.
Corker expressed her dedication to providing equipment and supplies to wounded warriors through the Legion’s Operation Comfort Warriors, and for two reasons: First, unlike other charities, 100 percent of donations go directly to helping injured service members; and, second, it’s important to “show our warriors our love.”
Their visit to Mexico High School (Academy and Central School) featured a demonstration by the Marine Junior ROTC drill team, and a briefing by Senior JROTC Instructor Lt. Col. John Freda (Ret.).
“The instructor emphasized that the drill team was not a vehicle to recruit students into the military, but rather a method of instilling teamwork, establish a strong work ethic and all the traits necessary for a successful life,” Governor noted.
The school is also home to the hand-carved woodblock scenic mural, La Guerre D’Independance. They got to view the multi-panel mural by French artist Deltel, which depicts scenes from the Revolutionary War.
The only two places that this historic circa-1853 artwork survives in its entirety are the White House in Washington, D.C. and in the oak-paneled upper foyer of Mexico High School.
After enjoying lunch at Post 418 in Phoenix, the state Legion leaders were quick to don “Support Our Troops” T-shirts presented by the Post leaders — Post Commander Ron Smithers, Auxiliary Unit President Anna Goettel and SAL Squadron Commander Shawn Mills.