Between 15,000 and 25,000 people are expected to be on the National Mall in Washington on Saturday for the National Day of Service. The event, part of inauguration weekend, was established four years ago and honors the life and legacy of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The goals of the National Day of Service are to provide information on volunteer opportunities, to sign up volunteers, and to create stronger communities by rededicating individuals and communities to service and civic participation.
Figuring prominently into the event will be The American Legion, which will have a multi-faceted booth in the Service Fair tent on the Mall, occupying the Veterans and Military Families space in the tent. During the course of the day, the booth will provide an opportunity for National Day of Service attendees to write thank-you letters to military veterans.
Those visiting the booth also will have the opportunity sign up to volunteer at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. Legion family members already provide nearly 1 million volunteer hours each year at VA facilities.
The third facet of the Legion booth will be to provide information on Legion programs and the organization’s mission.
"An event such as this provides great exposure to a large audience about what The American Legion is all about," said Jacob Gadd, deputy director of the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division and one of the volunteers working the Legion booth. "But at the same time, we’re going to be able to provide a venue for thousands of people to express their thanks to our men and women wearing the uniform of their country, as well as those who previously wore the uniform.
"We’re also going to have the opportunity to help VA pick up even more volunteers at their facilities. Volunteers plays a critical role at these facilities, as the thousands of Legion family members who volunteer now already know."
The Legion booth will be manned by Legion staff and members of Legion Post 1 in Washington. Laura Balun, VA’s Voluntary Service director, and Stephanie Burns of the Washington D.C. VA Medical Center also will be at the booth.
In addition to veterans and military families, the National Day of Service offers six additional ways to get involved with the program: health, education, community resilience, economic development, faith and environment. Ninety four service organizations will be represented at the event.
Speakers and performers during the day include Honorary Chair Chelsea Clinton, Co-Chair Eva Longoria, singer-songwriter Ben Folds, Iraq war veteran and Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, actress Angela Bassett. U.S. Rep and Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth, and the Washington Children’s ChoirFor more information on the event, click here.