For the past century, the American Legion has been a source of support and camaraderie for veterans and members of the armed forces across the country. The Denison city council celebrated the organization’s centennial earlier this month when it presented a proclamation to American Legion Fred W. Wilson-Sam Patillo Post 62.
The proclamation was read during the first council meeting of the month, which was attended by about two dozen members of the Denison post. In addition to reading the proclamation, Mayor Janet Gott declared March 15 as American Legion Day in the city.
“Over the years, the American Legion has become a pre-eminent veterans service organization, which now numbers more than 2.5 million members,” Gott said during the reading of the proclamation.
The American Legion was formed in 1919 following the end of World War I as servicemen were preparing to return home from war as a service organization for veterans of the armed forces. The organization considers March 15-16, the dates of the Paris Caucus that led to its creation, as the birthday for the Legion.
Jackie Judkins, legion commander for Post 62, said the recognition meant a lot for the members of the post as it recognized the impact it has had within the city. Judkins said the organization has often been involved with charitable efforts and causes within Denison since it was formed in the early 1930s.
“It was awesome,” he said. “For the city to give us a day of recognition, it was something great for the organization.”
In honor of the anniversary, Judkins said the Legion would hold a flag retirement ceremony at its home on West Crawford Street this Saturday. In addition to the retirement ceremony, the organization will have a cookout in honor of the anniversary.
Post 62 is not the only local post that will be celebrating in 2019. Sherman Post 29 will also be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The post plans to hold its own centenary celebration later this summer, closer to its anniversary.
“We are all celebrating the birthday, but it is also an individual celebration for our organization,” Ronnie Van Zandt, post adjunct, said Tuesday.