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The Associations 100th Anniversary Reunion & Convention
is set for Roanoke, VA, October 11-14, 2018



Download registration form (Cut-off date for registration is September 18, 2018.)

Hotel Reservation Information (Cut-off date for discounted rate is September 11, 2018.)

Article By Frank Armiger
Assistant Editor, The Twenty-Niner


Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with National Commander Grant Hayden to discuss the upcoming Reunion and Convention. It will be a special one for the 29th Division Association marking the 100th anniversary of this august organization and NC Hayden plans to assure that it is a very memorable one. The convention, which will be held in Roanoke, VA at the Holiday Inn Roanoke Valley View, will begin on Thursday, 11 October (exactly one month to the day, prior to the centennial anniversary of the end of World War I, the war that saw the creation of the 29th Division) and end at noon on Sunday, 14 October.

NC Hayden discussed the voucher program whereby a business may sponsor a World War II veterans attendance at the convention. When we spoke, he had just sent out 40 letters to businesses in Maryland and Virginia and indicated that first time attendees would receive preference. Of course, the hospitality suite will be open starting on Thursday as members and guests gather, reunite and prepare for a weekend of camaraderie and commemoration. The suite will be open throughout the convention and Association merchandise will be available for purchase.

NC Hayden indicated that activities would get underway in earnest on Friday at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. Members and guests will travel via complimentary bus service to the Memorial for a commemorative wreath laying. NC Hayden has invited the 29th Division NCO and Soldier of the Year, who will be Convention guests and who recently assisted with the annual wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery; to participate in this special event. The 29th Division band will be on hand and play throughout the ceremony.

Our good friends from Mission Barbeque will provide a free lunch for all in recognition of the contributions of our 29th Division veterans to the freedom that we all enjoy. If time permits in the afternoon, NC Hayden has plans to bus the group to nearby Lexington, VA to tour the Robert E Lee Chapel and the George C Marshall Museum. When the group returns to the Holiday Inn, we will gather for a delicious buffet dinner.

On Saturday, while we hold our annual business meeting and Post Commanders Workshop, NC Hayden has plans for the spouses. Bus service will be available to transport the spouses and other guests into Roanoke to several venues: the Valley View Mall for some leisure shopping, the Black Dog Salvage showroom and TV show studio, the Historic Downtown Roanoke Market (the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia), and the Taubman Museum of Art. There will certainly be something of interest for everyone!

That evening we will hold the formal dinner and NC Hayden has advised that there will be some very special souvenirs to mark this historic occasion. A combo from the 29th Division band will provide musical entertainment in the lobby as members and guests gather to hear an update from 29th Division commander, BG John M. Epperly. NC Hayden will recognize the 29th Division NCO and Soldier of the Year and he will introduce the incoming National Commander, David Leighton.

Our keynote speaker for the evening will be a very special guest, Bernard Marie, international business consultant and Roanoke resident. Mr. Marie was born on June 5, 1939 in Paris, France and celebrated his fifth birthday in Normandy as the initial wave of paratroopers filled the sky above his house. He recalls the early morning of the following day as the bombardment began and shook the ground around him. It was not long after that the 29th Division troops in the first wave hit the beaches and began their move inland on 6 June 1944.

Bernard Marie's lifetime of service and devotion to World War II veterans has inspired many. As a young boy, he witnessed history while living in Normandy, France during the D-Day invasion in June of 1944. Mr. Marie has since hosted annual events for these veterans. Through his influence, 150 American World War II veterans received the Ordre National de la Legion D'honneur. In 2016, Mr. Marie was nominated for The American legion's prestigious Patriot Award for his service and devotion to World War II veterans.

He will talk about his experiences as he and his family lived through the Nazi occupation of France and his father left to join the Resistance. Mr. Marie will provide a unique perspective on the invasion through the eyes and ears of a child. This promises to be a very exceptional capstone for an evening of commemoration and remembrance: to perpetuate the friendships we cherish; to keep alive the spirit that never knew defeat; to glorify our dead, and to further keep before our country, the record of the 29th Division in all the wars.

We will all say farewell on Sunday, 14 October in the morning with the traditional memorial service led by Chaplain, Reverend John Schild, to remember all those 29ers who so selflessly served their country and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice to perpetuate the freedoms for which this country stands. May we never forget.

The Annual Reunion and Convention will mark the end of NC Haydens tenure and he will become PNC Hayden joining a select group of Past National Commanders who have all, in their own way, advanced the purpose of the 29th Division Association as described in the Preamble.

NC Haydens goal has been to position the Association for the future and specifically to attract 100 new members during his tenure. Thus far, the Association has more than 80 new members and he is confident that this goal will not only be met, but will be exceeded!

To accomplish his goals for the Association, NC Hayden firmly believes that communications of all types are absolutely necessary to get the word out not only on the military side but the civilian side as well. The legacy program is one critical piece as well as the opportunity for associate members to join. Anyone who supports and fervently believes in the 29th Division Association Preamble that we recite before every meeting is a candidate for membership.

Some of the specific initiatives that NC Hayden cited are the following: the Facebook page that provides news and information about the Association; the new poster that will be placed at all NG installations and allows potential members to scan a QRC and join within a matter of minutes; an upgrade to the website to facilitate the purchase of merchandise that allows members and friends to essentially advertise their appreciation for/commitment to the mission of the Association; and the YouTube video (accessible through Facebook) that provides the history of the 29th Division from its inception to the present.

In addition, NC Hayden reached out to the 1st Battalion 149th Infantry of the Kentucky National Guard based in London, KY (approximately halfway between Lexington and Knoxville, TN off I75). The Kentucky NG unit is now officially affiliated with the Staunton based 116th IBCT and proudly wears the 29th ID patch. NC Hayden is certain that he will be able to recruit several new members from this Guard unit.

Without a doubt, however, NC Hayden has especially enjoyed visiting the posts, participating in the installation of officers and getting to know our members. He noted that all of the posts are unique in character some even involve the members entire families. About one thing he is certain: the 29th Division Association has much to offer to anyone who wants to assure that this illustrious military unit is remembered and honored for all time. NC Hayden is committed to that cause and will position the Association to move forward when his tenure ends this fall.


Preamble: To perpetuate the friendships we cherish; to keep alive the spirit that never knew defeat;
to glorify our dead, and to further keep before our country, the record of the 29th Division in all the wars;
we associate ourselves in an organization
known as the 29th Division Association.