By JANET KEHRES
Daily Globe Correspondent
PLYMOUTH - Plymouth Post of the American Legion celebrated the 100 years of the National American Legion history on Saturday. Plymouth's Post is 99 years old and will celebrate their history next year.
The evening began with Arden Kessler giving a warm welcome to all the veterans and friends, followed by prayer. Kessler asked that all veterans stand for recognition, followed by requesting all veterans standing can be served first to a delicious meal.
After the meal Kessler read the history of the National American Legion. Some of the highlights:
- The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans of WWI into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the U.S.
- First Legion convention convened in Minneapolis. The Constitution and preamble were adopted
- A resolution was passed in support of Boy Scouts of America, also.
- 1921-Through the Legion's efforts the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of the Veterans Administration.
- 1935-The first American Legion Boys State convened to help youths gain an understanding of the structure and operation of the federal government.
- 1938-The first annual National High School Oratorical Contest was conducted.
- 1944-President FDR signed into law the original GI Bill to provide higher education, get better jobs, buy houses in the suburbs and raise families.
- 1950-The Legion votes to contribute funds to the field of mental health, thereby playing a key role in launching the National Association for Mental Health.
- 1982-The Legion presents a $1 million check to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund for construction of the Wall in Washington.
- 1983-The Legion announces its sponsorship of an independent study on the effects of exposure to Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans.
- 2001-The American Legion creates the American Legacy Scholarship Fund for children of military members killed on active duty on or after September 11, 2001.
- Denise H. Roban of Wisconsin is elected national commander, the first woman to hold the role in the Legion's history.
Kessler announced that Plymouth had their first state winners in the American Legion “Americanism Test.” Levi Robinson, a sophomore at Plymouth High School, won at the state level and was awarded a trip to Washington D.C. Levi's brother, Justin, a senior at Plymouth High School, was a runner-up, but was able to go on the trip because the student who was awarded the trip was injured in a wrestling meet.
Natalie Snyder, a senior at Plymouth High School presented the finale with a video interview of several veterans of the area. The veterans were: Leonard Felty; Arden Kessler; Rick Dropsey; Trevor Hammond, Larry Laser; Fred Bisel; and Fred Buzzard. They all said it was a different experience than the life around Plymouth, Ohio. One of the members came back disabled, another faced the agent orange threat, and another stated very emotionally the Vietnam experience was horrifying. Some of these gentlemen were drafted and others enlisted.
The evening was concluded with a salute to the veterans.