WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A Watertown veteran of the South Dakota National Guard will represent The American Legion during national observances of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery this year.
National Vice Commander Byron Callies, who served 41 years in the National Guard and retired from the Department of Energy’s Western Area Power Administration, will place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns on May 28. Founding American Legion member and longtime U.S. Rep. Hamilton Fish helped create the original Tomb of the Unknown Soldier through congressional action in 1921. The American Legion continued to support the Tomb over the years through legislation mandating 24-hour sentinels and by funding illumination for the sacred resting place.
Callies was elected to his current position at The American Legion’s 99th National Convention in Reno, Nev., on Aug. 24, 2017. He is one of 12 national officers in The American Legion. He held many offices within the nation’s largest veterans organization, including commander of Post 17 in Watertown and department (state) commander of South Dakota American Legion from 2012 to 2013.
With a current membership of 2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.