The first day of the 100th National Convention of The American Legion in Minneapolis convened with the Color Guard Contests. More than a dozen units from across the country competed in four classes at the Minneapolis Convention Center in late August.
The top three color guard units in the Advancing and Retiring of Colors class were within a point of each other. Sons of The American Legion Detachment of California District 12 captured the win after placing third last year in the class. It’s the first national title for District 12 in the class after performing at national conventions for the past 11 years. The team includes Legion members from Hughson, Ceres and Merced.
“This is my final year to compete so this is a great way to go out,” said David Smith, who has been performing with the SAL District 12 color guard for 11 years. “And I can’t do it without the rest of our team … Curtis Hamill, Walt Butler and Roy Santiago.”
Harrisburg Post 472 of Houston placed second in the Advancing and Retiring of Colors but placed first in the Military Class-Open and will present the colors to the national commander during the national convention next year in Indianapolis. Newport Harbor Post 291 of Newport Beach, Calif., won in the class last year and was on hand to present the colors to National Commander Denise H. Rohan on the convention floor during this year’s convention. Rohan presented the awards to the color guard winners and shared words of appreciation.
“You are the role models, you are the leaders of the parades, you are the heroes … and all of those children who are watching they understand and get that warm feeling in their heart and know why they care about America so much. You are fine examples,” Rohan said. “I’m so proud to watch each and every one of you as you performed. And I hope you take that same sense of pride back home with you.”
The following are the scores from the four classes of the Advancing and Retiring of Colors: SAL Detachment of California District 12 – 91.9; Harrisburg Post 472 of Houston, Texas – 91.8; Newport Harbor Post 291 of Newport Beach, Calif. – 91.7; Fountain Hills (Ariz.) Post 58 – 90.1; Post 124 of Westfield, Mass. – 89.5; Audie Murphy Post 336 of San Antonio – 89.3; Chanhassen (Minn.) Post 580 – 89.1; JL Shryer Post 430 of Durant, Iowa – 85.2; Post 230 of Stockton, Mo. – 84.1; Eagan, Minn., Post 594 – 83; American Legion Band of Greater Kansas City in Missouri – 81.6; SAL Detachment of Indiana in Bloomfield – 81.6.
George Whiteman Memorial Post 642 in Sedalia, Mo. performed as an exhibition due to not all members being present.