Post 67: American Legion, American Stories

Profile photo of Silvia Ros
Silvia Ros
Photographer based in Miami, Florida
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - On August 27, 2022, Post 67 hosted a paella dinner. Malcom, a retired chef, made the paella under...
On August 27, 2022, Post 67 hosted a paella dinner. Malcom, a retired chef, made the paella under a tent in the side yard. Donated cakes celebrating the event were served from the covered pool table.

Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Richard Izzi, the longtime post Commander, is meticulously reviewing the numerous super bowl bet...
Richard Izzi, the longtime post Commander, is meticulously reviewing the numerous super bowl bet pools that the legion collects.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Clyde 'Gunny' Allen at the holiday potluck. Gunny became homeless in 2020. His...
Clyde 'Gunny' Allen at the holiday potluck. Gunny became homeless in 2020. His situation was made more difficult by his disabilities, he had lost his ability to speak due to illness. He became very ill but refused to go into assisted living.  The legion created a small space in the back room where he could live temporarily until he passed away in 2021.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - On March 4, 2022, the Women's Auxiliary at Post 67 held their annual induction ceremony...
On March 4, 2022, the Women's Auxiliary at Post 67 held their annual induction ceremony and luncheon. State officials came to the meeting to offer support to the new officers.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - James Witherwax is 15 years old.  His mother, Stacey, is a bartender at the Post....
James Witherwax is 15 years old.  His mother, Stacey, is a bartender at the Post.  He comes from a military family and both his brother and sister are serving.  On weekends, he comes in to help out by serving meals for the Sons of the Legion.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Gracie Leep is an Irish immigrant who works as a bartender at the Post.  She is infamous...
Gracie Leep is an Irish immigrant who works as a bartender at the Post.  She is infamous for her heavy pour.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - The double doors in the meeting room stay boarded up unless there is a special occasion.
The double doors in the meeting room stay boarded up unless there is a special occasion.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - On August 21, 2022, the Women's Auxiliary held a special event on a Saturday afternoon,...
On August 21, 2022, the Women's Auxiliary held a special event on a Saturday afternoon, raising money for the Post with bingo, a bake sale and 50/50.

Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - On December 16, 2022, the post annual holiday party included a shrimp dinner and a live band. As...
On December 16, 2022, the post annual holiday party included a shrimp dinner and a live band. As soon as dinner is over the chairs are pushed to the side to create a dance floor in the meeting room. Joyce, Elaine and Dale are enjoying the music.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Ja’Shon E. Fayson was a Captain in the Army specializing in Chemical Biological and...
Ja’Shon E. Fayson was a Captain in the Army specializing in Chemical Biological and Nuclear Warfare. He is now the Assistant Principal at a local high school.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - On August 21, 2022, the Women's Auxiliary held a special event on a Saturday afternoon,...
On August 21, 2022, the Women's Auxiliary held a special event on a Saturday afternoon, raising money for the Post with bingo, a bake sale and 50/50.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - The Women's Auxiliary holds their monthly meeting in the Assembly Room.
The Women's Auxiliary holds their monthly meeting in the Assembly Room.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Tom Brown, who served in the Army, calls the regular Thursday night bingo game.
Tom Brown, who served in the Army, calls the regular Thursday night bingo game.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - A typical bingo setup at the post involves anything from cards, drinks, good luck charms and...
A typical bingo setup at the post involves anything from cards, drinks, good luck charms and other trinkets.  Pat, Commander Izzi's partner, plays multiple cards at a table in the Meeting Room.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - The 2021 holiday pot luck luncheon featured two pigs made in Caja China's, a traditional...
The 2021 holiday pot luck luncheon featured two pigs made in Caja China's, a traditional Cuban way of cooking pork.  Pictured here are sides that were brought in by volunteers.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Jeff Bodine, a native Miamian, was injured in a workplace accident and can no longer work....
Jeff Bodine, a native Miamian, was injured in a workplace accident and can no longer work.  He is a member of the Sons of the Legion and helps out with anything from cooking to cutting the grass.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Manny Vibanco is the current Sons of the Legion Commander.  Originally from California,...
Manny Vibanco is the current Sons of the Legion Commander.  Originally from California, he is Mexican-American, and his sister serves in the military.  He organizes lunches, dinners, special events and all sorts of other activities to keep Post 67 and its constituents active. He is very popular at the Post as he is quick to offer help when needed. At the Valentine's Day dinner he took Carol Ann Walch for a spin on the dance floor.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Chrissy, originally from Germany, worked at the post as a bartender. Both of her sons served in...
Chrissy, originally from Germany, worked at the post as a bartender. Both of her sons served in the military, and even though she no longer works at the post she and her husband Steve are mainstays at the Cantina.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Elaine Salazar, a former post bartender, carries an oversized American flag larger to the fire...
Elaine Salazar, a former post bartender, carries an oversized American flag larger to the fire during the Flag Retirement Ceremony held each June with flags collected from all over the county.
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories - Every June, Post 67 holds a Flag Retirement Ceremony to properly retire the damaged flags that...
Every June, Post 67 holds a Flag Retirement Ceremony to properly retire the damaged flags that they have collected over the year.  Boy scouts and JROTC youths assist in the ceremony, in which flags are carried to the fire pit one by one and thrown into the fire with a salute. Because of the sweltering summer heat in South Florida, most people stand up against the southern wall and in the service entrance trying to get any shade they can.
I have been photographing the American Legion in North Miami since 2016. As a liberal Cuban American lesbian, I have worked to be welcomed, included and invited to document the inner workings of this uniquely American place. At first, I was unsure about exposing my sexuality and bringing my wife with me to this space, but being in the room is of the utmost importance in educating people to respect each other’s differences and I have learned as much as I have taught. This community has become more than a story, they have created a family and trust my camera and I to be a part of it.

The building brings them together day after day; it could be the cantina and shrimp dinners, but it is also the support that celebrates a birthday or mourns a loss. I am fascinated by what has drawn this group together and how they navigate life’s challenges; the slights which set off an argument, and the shared past which brings them back together. Discussing politics is not allowed, but I have come to value sharing space with people different from myself and have experienced attitudes shifting as the diversity at the Post expands to better reflect Miami. I don’t have a lot in common with the majority of the people at Post 67, but I was welcomed into a space where I didn’t really belong and that has taught me a great deal about what America can and should be.                                                   
Public Story
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories
Copyright Silvia Ros 2024
Updated Jan 2023
Location Miami, Florida
LOVE
Post 67: American Legion, American Stories by Silvia Ros Post 67: American Legion, American Stories by Silvia Ros Post 67: American Legion, American Stories by Silvia Ros
534