The Post 105 American Legion Family, which consists of The American Legion’s veterans, the Sons of The American Legion (SAL), and the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA), took part in Belleville’s Baseball Opening Day ceremonies by providing a color guard and leading the Pledge of Allegiance. They also had an opportunity to take a fantastic picture with the traveling baseball team they sponsor. The post also had a few moments to speak to the public about The American Legion’s Be the One initiative, which helps to combat the epidemic of veteran suicide.
Post 105 has been asked to have a color guard at the event for the past few years, and this year happened on a day that was more like summer then springtime. The day also coincided with the dedication of Belleville’s new municipal recreation complex. Said Mayor Michael Melham on his Facebook page, “What a day for Belleville! And what a turnout. Our brand new, 8-lane competitive track is finally open! The blue and gold looks amazing!”
Following the introduction of all of the perhaps 30 teams, all the way from 5-year-olds playing ball to the high school travel teams, Commander Joe Cobianchi led the hundreds in attendance in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. After the crowd sat down, Joe took a few seconds to speak about veteran suicide and last year’s ’22 a Day’ initiative, and how this country is making progress in helping vets seeking help.
'22 a Day' was the 2022 program that brought to light veteran suicide and the on-average 22 vets a day who end their life. The program has since been rebranded Be the One - focused on eliminating the stigma related to mental health treatment, and in turn, lower the number of veterans who die by suicide every day. The American Legion has elevated Be the One to its top priority, empowering veterans, servicemembers, their family members and civilians to act appropriately when a veteran may be at risk.
“Tell them about our Be the One campaign and our efforts to destigmatize the courageous decision to seek mental wellness,” National Commander Vincent J. “Jim” Troiola said earlier this year. “Too many veterans take their lives while feeling isolated and alone. Some have no close relatives to whom they can reach out. It is a mistake for them to believe they have no family. Whether they know it or not, they have an American Legion Family.”
After the ceremony, the post family tracked down the 14U USABL team, which Post 105 and SAL Squadron 105 sponsors, for a picture with the color guard and everyone in uniform. This is the third year the post and squadron have sponsored the Belleville Junior Bucs. Their sharp pinstripe uniforms, emblazoned with the Belleville ‘B’, also have the Legion seal on one arm and the SAL seal on the other.