Retired Air Force Captain Ray Brennan, 61, a tall, graying man who loved to collect seashells, had been having heart trouble for some years. But he was the bookkeeper of American Legion Post #42 in Towanda, Pa., and, as his sister Maize Travis said, "All he lived for was these conventions." So Brennan set off for Philadelphia last month to attend a state Legion convention—an affair traditionally devoted to parading and merrymaking. He came home "tired," his sister recalled, and three days later he had chest pains, a fever and difficulty in...

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