The Journal Gazette
Friday, August 16, 2019 1:00 am

Legion event drawing US officials to Indiana

Journal Gazette

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie will address the American Legion's 101st national convention in Indianapolis this month.

The American Legion said Thursday in a news release that it expects nearly 9,000 people to attend the convention, Aug. 22-29 at the Indiana Convention Center.

The American Legion, which has its headquarters in Indianapolis, describes itself as the nation's largest organization of military veterans, with nearly 2 million members.

Pence, a former Indiana governor and congressman, is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. Aug. 28. He spoke to the organization last year, when its national convention was in Minneapolis.

Pompeo is scheduled to speak at 11:50 a.m. Aug. 27, and Wilkie is scheduled to speak at 8:45 a.m. Aug. 28.

Before Pompeo's remarks, the American Legion will give its Distinguished Service Medal posthumously to John McCain, the U.S. senator from Arizona and 2008 Republican presidential candidate who died last August. Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, a former Indiana governor, will receive the organization's Patriot Award after Wilkie's speech.

This will be the fourth time the American Legion has had its national convention in Indianapolis. Previous conventions in the Hoosier capital were in 1990, 1995 and 2012.

“It is fitting that The American Legion is celebrating our centennial year in a city that is so patriotic and meaningful to us,” Michael Walton, chairman of the organization's National Convention Commission, said in a statement.

The American Legion said it expects to contribute between $10 million and $15 million to the Indianapolis economy through 15,000 hotel room nights, shopping, dining and tourism.

In addition to general sessions of the convention, there will be employment workshops, panel discussions, color guard contests, a band competition, a film festival and visits to the Muscatutuck Urban Training Center in Jennings County and the HVAF Homeless Shelter in Indianapolis.

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