HOT SPRINGS – The annual Veterans Day program presented by the Hot Springs High School Student Body is well-known as one of the finest programs in the area for how it honors local veterans through its musical performances by students in grades K-12, along with a slideshow featuring photos and information about local service men and women.
This year’s program, being held a few days prior to the holiday which falls on a Sunday this year, will take place on Thursday, Nov. 8, beginning at 9 a.m. in Case Auditorium.
One of the reasons for holding the event next Thursday morning was to also utilize the opportunity to feature the National Commander of the American Legion as the event’s keynote speaker.
Brett P. Reistad was elected national commander of the nearly 2 million-member American Legion on August 30, 2018 in Minneapolis, during the organization’s 100th national convention. He has been a member of the nation’s largest veterans organization since 1981.
A resident of Manassas, Virginia, Reistad is a life member and past commander of Post 270 in McLean. The Department of Virginia reached an all-time high in membership, while he served as department (state) commander from 2005 to 2006. He retired as a lieutenant with the Fairfax County Police Department after 26 years of service and began a second career as a law enforcement services coordinator for the Regional Organized Crime Information Center of the Regional Information Sharing Systems Program, a congressionally funded law enforcement investigative assistance program of the U.S. Department of Justice. He holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from Virginia’s Bluefield College.
Reistad’s Legion membership eligibility is through his honorable Vietnam War-era service (1974-78) as an active-duty U.S. Army infantryman, where he served with the Presidential Salute Battery of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) at historic Fort Myer, Va. He participated in the Inaugural ceremony for President Carter and other high-profile ceremonies. He has since been honored as a Distinguished Member of the Regiment.
Commander Reistad has served at every level of The American Legion. He is a past president and honorary life member of the National American Legion Press Association (NALPA). He recently completed a six-year appointment as chairman of the Department Legislative Committee and two three-year terms as a gubernatorial appointee to the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations, where he helped coordinate the input of 23 VSOs in crafting veteran friendly legislation and advocating the proposed legislation before the governor and General Assembly. He is also a tenured past department historian and was recently bestowed an honorary life membership by the National Association of Department Historians of the American Legion (NADHAL).
He is a past Legionnaire of the Year from Post 270 and a member of the Sons of The American Legion Squadron 10 in Manassas. His wife, Jessica, and his family, are proud members of The American Legion Family. His theme as national commander is “Celebrating Our Legacy,” with special emphasis on the organization’s centennial.
Brett. P. Reistad of Manassas, Virg., will speak at Hot Springs’ Veterans Day program, being held on Thursday, Nov. 8.