American Legion Post 75 has two nights of events planned to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Did you know that the American Legion was started in Paris, France, on March 15, 1919? A group of 20 officers in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in France during World War I is credited with founding the Legion.
One officer was LTC Theodore Roosevelt Jr., who proposed an organization of veterans. This idea grew. In February 1919 the idea was carried to others. In March 1919, approximately 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended a Paris Caucus and adopted a temporary Constitution and the name of American Legion.
In May 1919, the Legion held its second organizational meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, setting headquarters in New York City. Our U.S. Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September 1919. In the course of time, headquarters was moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. Today over 2 million veterans are members of the Legion in over 12,000 posts.
The American Legion had four pillars of service and advocacy when it was founded. Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children and Youth. These areas are still primary supportive areas but the American Legion and its Legion Family do these and many more projects with their time and monies raised through fundraisers and donations.
Did you know that the local American Legion Auxiliary is named American Legion Auxiliary Farris Anderson Unit 75? The Auxiliary is made up of spouses of American Legion members. Both men and woman can be members of the Auxiliary. The local unit was named after Farris Anderson who died in 1918. He was the first man from Palo Pinto County to be killed in World War I. The local Auxiliary Unit was formed in 1942. Daughters of Legion Members can be junior members. Sons can be junior members of the Sons of the Legion.
The Sons of the Legion was formed in 1932 to honor the service and sacrifice of Legionnaires. Our local Sons have been active in fundraising and helping with community projects. In 1993, the Legion Riders were formed and have units all across the United States. Legion members who love motorcycles have combined that love with honoring other veterans at funerals or ceremonies or doing rides to donate for toys at Christmas to local charities.
The American Legion considers the Auxiliary, Sons of the Legion and Legion Riders to be part of the Legion Family. It goal is to serve the family of the veteran and to provide opportunities to grow in knowledge of citizenship and patriotism. There are two major programs that young people can experience their junior year in high school. These two programs are recognized as being one of the finest programs in leadership as well. Boys State and Girls State representatives are given a week of intense training in how government is run and how to become a leader by running for offices and getting elected to various jobs. Some get to go to National Boys State and National Girls State. Many of these young people go on to actually be our representatives, senators, governors and presidents.
So now for the great news! If you have served honorably in the United State Military or you are now active duty in the military, American Legion and its Family organizations are open for your membership. Until this year the American Legion was chartered for veterans and active members only during specific times in history. This meant over four million veterans were not eligible. The American Legion Family petitioned that this policy be changed in the Charter. It was changed! It was recognized that we have been at war in one way or another since 1941.With that in mind, American Legion Post 75 is planning events to recognize the 100 years of service to the nation and to welcome new veterans and their families to the Post.
On Friday night, October 4, the Legion will be serving a taco dinner for purchase $7. The meal is served at 6 p.m. Public is invited to join in the food and fun events. There will be music and games to follow. The meal is a fundraiser that helps support many of the projects in the community and at veteran hospitals. Local scholarships and sponsorship of Boys State and Girls State come from meals, Bingo, Raffles, Stew Cook Offs and other fun events.
On Saturday, October 5, come back to the Legion Hall for more events and fun. The fish dinner will be $10. And the dance will be $10 starting around 7 p.m. However, if you want to do both dinner and dance, that will be $15. You could win door prizes!
If you did not sign up to be a member on Friday, you can do it at the membership tables available in the afternoon and evening. There will be a fish dinner, games, live music with Jim Fincher and his band, and something for all your family. The public is invited to join the fun for food and music on Saturday night.