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American Legion Post 39 celebrates 100 years


By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The American Legion is turning 100 years old this year and Greenville’s American Legion Post 39 is planning to celebrate the milestone tonight.

Members and organizers will gather at 6 p.m. at the Greenville post, located at 403 Saint Andrews Drive.

The national organization traces its roots to March 15-17, 1919, in Paris, France, in the aftermath of World War I. The American Legion was federally chartered on September 16, 1919, and quickly became an influential force at the national, state and local levels, dedicated to service to veterans, strong national defense, youth and patriotism, according to a news release. 

The local post also was chartered in 1919, the release stated.

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 U.S. Flag Code, helping start the Veterans Administration, drafting and getting passed the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1994  — the GI Bill — which transformed America in the second half of the 20th century, and helping veterans receive benefits for health-care conditions based on their honorable service, including acceptance of Agent Orange exposure as service-connected, the release said. 

Today, The American Legion has nearly 3,000 accredited service officers worldwide who assist veterans with their benefits claims and other concerns.

Post 39 numbers almost 300 members plus several dozen more individuals in the affiliated American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion.

Many in the greater Greenville are have had their lives touched by Post 39 through financial support of veterans and their families, baseball, Boys State, Girls State, nursing scholarships to East Carolina University and Pitt Community College, flag disposal, or even use of  the post facilities, the release said. 

“The American Legion Family of Greenville is excited to share both the legacy and the vision of our organizations,” Post 39 Commander Lee Allen said. “We’ve done a lot of good, and intend to keep doing it for a second century. There are more veterans eligible for membership in the legion now than at any time in the past.

“We are excited to grow our post and look forward to doing even more to serve our community, state and nation,” Allen said. 

For more information on the American Legion and the centennial celebration, call 347-9638.