Every year, Father Peter Olsen (Rector, Saint Basil’s Church in Watervliet NY) has the honor to offer a benediction and participate in the Annual Maplewood Fireman's/American Legion Memorial Day Parade. As honorary chaplain of the Maplewood Volunteer Fire Department, he always offers a prayer and a benediction at the installation banquet of the officers of the Fire Department.
This year at the banquet, Tom Kuzler (Commander of Maplewood American Legion Post 1615) awarded Father Peter with Honorary Membership in the Legion.
“The American Legion does not officially recognize honorary memberships, and rightfully so,” said Father Peter, “but our local Maplewood post extended this to me anyway in their love and kindness. I was very touched. I don’t love and honor our Veterans any more than any other American should. I thanked them and told them that I didn’t deserve the honor because I never served, but I gratefully thanked them for their kindness and good wishes. I asked my son Christopher to stand up and chose the moment to recognize another Olsen who actually did serve, and thanked him publicly for his service. I am very touched, and I cherish the certificate and their kind recognition.”