Daniel F. Foley

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In 1963, Dan Foley, from Wabasha, was running to be the National Commander of The American Legion. The largest veterans' service organization in the world, with a membership of 3 1/2 million veterans. He would be the first Minnesotan to hold that high position. This was at the height of the Cold War. President Kennedy called him one day to ask for his assistance. The President was trying to pass the nuclear test ban treaty. President Kennedy said there were senators whose votes he needed to pass it, who were opposed to the treaty. He further said that these crucial votes were from states where the American Legion had particularly large membership. He asked for help. Dan Foley was elected National Commander at the convention and got the American Legion to endorse the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. This was unheard of at that time. The senators previously in opposition changed their votes and the treaty was passed. After the President's assassination, Robert Kennedy sent a picture of the deceased President with a letter saying that it had been on his brother's desk in the Oval Office for signing in thanks and appreciation for his assistance with the test ban treaty at the time of the President's death. Commander Foley was made an honorary pallbearer at President Kennedy's funeral and along with several other legionnaires were the very last people other than the gravediggers to leave President Kennedy's grave on the day he was buried.
~Kevin Foley, Afton, MN


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