Veterans enjoy night of laughter at local American Legion Post

Photo by Shawn Nowlin
Dan Beckmann singing to an amused participant on stage.

Over 50 Veterans gathered last Saturday at the Salem American Legion Post. The reason? To enjoy an evening of comedy, personality and dancing, courtesy of Letters From Home.

Said Jerry Bryant, President of the Board of Directors, “The mission of Letters From Home is to travel the country, honoring our nation’s Veterans, active military heroes and their families by reviving patriotism through music.”

Dan Beckmann and Erinn Dearth have quite a history. Dearth started Letters From Home in 2010 at the recommendation of her late father Pat who was a Veteran of the United States Coast Guard. Beckmann, a New York-based actor, was taking pictures of penguins in Antarctica when Dearth approached him and expressed an interest in him joining the team. His response was an emphatic “yes.”

Erinn Dearth, founder of Letters From Home

The two have since performed in theaters, VA hospitals, for air shows, cruise ships, schools, patriotic celebrations, military bases, VFWs, American Legions and countless other venues all over the country.

“We wanted to do something for the community of Salem and contacted the American Legion to see if they would host the show,” Dearth said. “We’ve performed for American Legion’s across the country and one of my favorite things is the amazing sense of community the Veterans show towards each other. Each post we’ve visited has its own unique personality, but the overall sense of love is always the same.”

When Dearth is on stage, she likes to let her imagination run wild. Given her experience as a choreographer and director, it came as no surprise that there was nonstop laughter throughout the show.

“It is our goal to educate everyone, young and old, and of all backgrounds what it means to revive patriotism. This is what we believe develops a stronger support for our country,” she said. Added Beckmann, “We’ve been to 40 states so far and it’s our goal to hit all 50. We want to continue to reach more and more people through our performances, finding common ground with our audiences and uniting the nation with our shows.”

There was nonstop laughter throughout the event.

Several people made last Saturday’s event at the American Legion Post possible and Doris Hansel, Second Vice Commander, is one of them. “When they reached out and explained what they wanted to do, everyone was on board. This event doesn’t become a success without the efforts of so many people,” she said.

When not doing Letters From Home, Erinn and Dan are usually working at their non-profit theatre company, writing a new skit or working on a new song.

Both said they enjoyed themselves at the Salem American Legion Post and looked forward to returning. More information about Erinn and Dan can be found at

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