Army veteran Clara Smith - three generations of Legionnaires

Orcutt, CA

Mrs. Clara Smith turned 95 on May 15, 2014. She was born two months after The American Legion was formed in Paris, France, after World War I. On Saturday, May 17, we held a wonderful dinner to celebrate her 95th birthday and to honor her 50 years of continuous membership in The American Legion.

Mrs. Smith served in the Army during World War II as a clerk typist,
often called "Remington Raiders" because of the manual Remington
typewriters they used. Clara's late husband also served during World War II and landed in France on D-Day, June 6, 1944, as part of the Allied
invasion force. The two had a favorite song, "As Time Goes By,"
popularized by the movie "Casablanca," which the two lovers cherished until he passed away in 1982. But the song lyrics still have special meaning for Mrs. Smith.

“It's still the same old story, A fight for love and glory, A case of do or die. The world will always welcome lovers, As time goes by.”

The celebration was well attended by members of our post family and Mrs. Smith’s family, as it should be. In the picture to the right, Great-Grandmother Smith visits with one of her three great-granddaughters. She also has three great-grandsons!

Mrs. Smith is not the only member of her family to be a member of Orcutt Post 534. Our newly elected post commander, Dennis Maher, is her son-in-law, and our newly elected sgt.-at-arms, Dave Maher, is her grandson. Her great-grandson Jonah Maher will graduate from high school soon. Jonah has joined the U.S. Marine Corps and will also become a Legionnaire in Post 534, just like his great-grandmother, grandfather and uncle. It is fast becoming a family tradition!

The good ladies of our Auxiliary Unit 534 provided a well-received potluck dinner. And Jim Keleman as post commander made arrangements for a very special certificate from the national office of The American Legion to document Mrs. Smith’s “50 Years” of membership in the Legion. Jim very respectfully, but with strong emotion befitting such a moment, presented the certificate to Mrs. Smith shortly before the birthday cake was cut.

After the cake was cut and served, grandson David Maher asked all the Legionnaires to come to attention, as all the Legion comrades of Post 534 gave this World War II Army veteran a heartfelt salute. It was a wonderful moment.

It was a very good night for Legionnaire Clara Smith and a very good night for Orcutt Post 534.

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