The Transylvania Times -

American Legion To Celebrate 100th Anniversary


Last updated 3/6/2019 at 3pm

Courtesy Photo

Judy Bagwell, Gold Star mother of Charlie Bagwell, who was killed in action, and Frank Duckworth place a wreath at the courthouse during the Memorial Day ceremony.

On Saturday, March 16, The American Legion is turning 100, and Monroe Wilson Post No. 88 in Brevard is planning to celebrate. Legacy and vision are the two primary planks in The American Legion's 100th Anniversary Celebration platform. This article addresses the centennial event and the Legion's vision for the next hundred years.

The American Legion, organized by combat troops of the American Expeditionary Forces in Paris a century ago, formed its identity according to four primary pillars of advocacy: veterans, defense, youth and Americanism. The Monroe Wilson Post No. 88 in Brevard was chartered on April 8, 1920, and has been active since that time.

Sharing The Legion's Legacy

The Monroe Wilson's local activities are numerous and ongoing and include:

•Visiting local assisted living homes to visit veterans

•Auxiliary and veterans distributing Christmas gifts to veterans in assisted living homes and in the VA Administration Hospital in Asheville

•Distributing flags at the Veterans Cemetery in Brevard

•Organizing Memorial Day parade and ceremony to honor fallen Transylvania veterans

•Assisting with the Junior Sport Shooting Program

•Sponsoring a local student to Boys State Program

•Sponsoring a local student to Girls State Program

•Establishing a local Legion Riders Program

•Through state organization, providing emergency financial funds to local veterans and their families

•Providing use of their facility to local organizations

•Displaying a Missing Soldier and MIA monument dedicated at Legion Post 88

•Sons of the Legion Squadron providing cooked turkeys to local charities at Thanksgiving.

On the national level, the American Legion has been instrumental in the creation of many major institutions of American society, including formation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, creation of the U.S. Flag Code, passage of the GI Bill and more.

Join the Centennial Celebration Events

As The American Legion prepares to observe its 100th anniversary at the national level, Post 88 in Brevard is preparing to celebrate its own legacy and vision at the local level.

"We will have a full day of activities on March 16," said Larry Hammontree, commander of the post. "We hope members of the community will join us to celebrate a century of patriotic service."

The celebration begins at 1 p.m. with a WWI history presentation by Emmett Casciato, curator and founder of the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas. Casciato's in-depth knowledge of The Great War's events, politics, weapons and outcomes offers visitors a fascinating look at our country at war a century ago. Uniforms and other memorabilia from the museum will be displayed.

From 2 to 3 p.m., historian Frank Hawkins will present a fascinating look at the Battle of Iwo Jima, the first battle on Japanese soil by United States Marines. This battle is considered by some as the most important in the Pacific Theater during WWII. WWII uniforms and artifacts from the Veterans History Museum will be displayed.

From 3 to 4 p.m., Larry Hammontree, retired naval commander and naval aviator and commander of Monroe Wilson Post 88, will offer a presentation of The American Legion's history and significance from its founding in Paris 100 years ago to its activities in Transylvania County today.

From 6 to 8 p.m., the doors of the Legion will by open to the community to join the 100th Centennial Anniversary celebration. Veterans are invited free of charge and general public will have a $5 cover charge. Food and bar will be available and music will entertain the party's guests. Rick Selimos, DJ extraordinaire, will turn the tunes for pleasure and dancing between small ceremonies for birthday cake cutting and display and rendering of colors.

Courtesy Photo

A somber salute at the Veterans Memorial at the Transylvania County Courthouse, Memorial Day, 2018.

From 8 to 11 p.m., local recording artist Caleb Gilbert will provide live music for entertainment and dancing. Caleb and his band are outstanding up-and-coming artists. His music is original and will be mixed with other dancing favorites. Casual attire is the order of the day with boots and jeans welcome.

Sharing The Legacy And Vision

Hammontree discussed the vision of Legion Post 88.

"The next step is to bring the community's needs and the Legion's goals together. We plan to set milestones and timelines, creating initiatives to help meet our community's needs. We want to carry the celebration into the next hundred years," he said.

Since it was chartered in 1920, the Monroe Wilson Post 88 in Brevard has been making this community a better place. Commander Hammontree and members of Post 88 invite the community to share the legacy on March 16.


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