WILMINGTON — On Saturday, Nov. 9, Wilmington Veterans Post 49 will celebrate the history and legacy of the American Legion.
It began in 1919 with a group of 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in France during World War I that were asked by AEF Headquarters to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale.
One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr., proposed an organization of veterans. The presidential son therefore is widely credited as being the “Father” of The American Legion, even though he consistently rejected that title.
In March 1919, about 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended the Paris Caucus (at the instance of Roosevelt, the group determined that in the Legion there was to be “No Rank Among Us” — all members are equal).
They adopted a temporary Constitution and the name the American Legion. Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September 1919.
A year after it was formed, the American Legion had chartered more than 5,400 local posts that continue to operate today. Since then it has grown to more than 13,000 posts around the world, and more than 2.2 million wartime-veteran members.
Throughout its first century, the American Legion built a legacy on such accomplishments as leading the way to create the U.S. Flag Code, helping start the Veterans Administration, drafting and getting passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 – the GI Bill – which transformed America in the second half of the 20th century, and helping veterans receive benefits for health-care, based on their honorable service, including acceptance of Agent Orange exposure as service-connected.
Today, the American Legion has nearly 3,000 accredited service officers worldwide who assist veterans with their benefits claims and other concerns.
Wilmington Post 49
Wilmington Veterans Post 49, with Harry Metzger as the driving force, was one of those veteran organizations to receive its Temporary Charter in 1919. The Official Charter was issued on Nov. 23, 1923 with William H. Robinson elected the first Commander.
Since its inception, the American Legion nationally has donated countless man-hours and millions of dollars to charitable organizations.
Locally, Post 49 members have been a partner — both with manpower and financially — in many local programs, including Habitat for Humanity, Homeless Shelter, Friends of the Court, Community Care Hospice, Boy and Girl Scouts, Junior 4 H, etc.
Wilmington Veterans Post 49 is a “family” of organizations that includes Auxiliary Unit 49, Sons of the American Legion Squadron 49, Forty & Eight Voiture 992, and American Legion Riders Chapter 49, all dedicated to serving veterans, their families and the community.
The Post 49 Family invites you to join them at the Clinton County Veterans Memorial on the corner of Main and Walnut Streets at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 to celebrate the American Legion’s 100 years of national, state and community service.
There will be light refreshments served at the Post Home, upstairs at 140 E. Locust St., following the program and live entertainment in the Post Social Room at 7:30 p.m.