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American Legion commander talks importance, impact of Post 1

American Legion Post 1
Posted at 10:00 PM, Jul 04, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — As Americans celebrate the 4th of July, they celebrate freedom that came courtesy of veterans.

Their sacrifice and leadership are obvious as you walk through the lobby of American Legion Post 1 in Tulsa. From one side of the lobby to the other, there are rows and rows of photographs featuring past Post 1 commanders.

The vast majority are men.

Lisa Milner, a retired Air Force Tech Sergeant, is the first woman chosen for the position.

"Even today, a lot of people don't realize women serve in the military," said Ret. Tech Sgt. Lisa Milner. "Other than being a nurse in the military. We've got women on the front lines, women who are fighter pilots - women who are doing everything."

She joined the Air Force in 1992 and later retired honorably. Only she soon found landing a job was nearly impossible. The American Legion helped.

"They helped me get my benefits started up, get a new place to live," Milner said. "They even helped me with moving out there. Paid my first month's rent, my deposit."

Milner came back to say thank you and was asked to volunteer.

That was 20 years ago this September. She worked her way up to post commander and even created a superhero: Commander Legionnaire.

She's still helping sign up new members, including civilians like Nick Barton, whose daughter was in the Air Force.

"She thought she could make a difference. And she did. A good kid," said Nick Barton.

In Post 1, known for members like Rosie the Riveter, a Buffalo Soldier, and veterans who loaded bombs on the Enola Gay, Barton finds camaraderie.

His daughter died in a wreck returning home from Lackland Air Force Base seven years ago.

"She's in my heart," said Barton.

Barton said he feels closer to his daughter when he walks into Post 1.
 
And while this Independence Day is a bittersweet one for members, Post 1 has been sold and they search for a new gathering place, it is still a haven for all in the land of the free, home of the brave.

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"People forget, if it wasn't for our veterans you wouldn't have the freedom that you have here in America," Milner added. "Go to any other country and try to do the same stuff you're doing here and you ain't gonna make it."

Milner said the American Legion is for all veterans and has been since it opened 105 years ago. She encourages everyone to get involved, to volunteer, and to help others.


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