American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad will be leading a delegation of more than 40 American Legion Family members and guests through a tour of key European sites marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the centennial of the organization that he now leads.
“Anytime that you visit the battlefields where so many Americans and our allies died for freedom is going to be a special and emotional experience,” Reistad said. “Paying respects at the American military cemeteries in Normandy, Luxembourg and Flanders Field is the least that we can do for those who sacrificed so much for us. Being in Paris, where The American Legion was born 100 years ago, just adds to the significance of this historic tour. The American Legion is a strong force in Europe and that’s due to the presence of Legionnaires from the Department of France, who advocate for veterans and servicemembers overseas, just like we do back home.”
Reistad is scheduled to kick-off the tour with a Memorial Day visit to the Allied Museum in Berlin. In addition to meeting with U.S. and German government officials, Reistad plans to visit the city’s Holocaust Memorial. While in Germany, Reistad will visit local American Legion posts and present grants from The American Legion Operation Comfort Warriors program to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Fisher House.
“I’m looking forward to meeting with the U.S. military leadership and the rank-and-file troops stationed at various European commands so I can learn firsthand about their primary concerns and needs,” Reistad said. “The American Legion is a powerful advocate for our military because we conduct site-visits and we let our servicemembers know that we will take their message back home to their communities and to the halls of Congress.”
Reistad will also visit Brussels, where he is scheduled to be briefed by NATO officials at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) and meet with members of the European Parliament before heading to Paris on June 3. While in Paris, Reistad will tour Pershing Hall, the birthplace of The American Legion and The American Legion Paris Post 1 Mausoleum.
The Legion delegation will join surviving Normandy veterans and current military officials for a series of D-Day-related events before heading back to the United States June 10.