A hundred years ago, WWI was coming to an end. If you read the newspaper, you were able to follow what was going on, and one thing that was in the paper over and over again was that the American patriotism will help us win the war. Through the Red Cross, local families were making and donating items for the soldiers, mufflers, socks, sweaters and dried fruit, whatever they could do here and send to the boys. But what happened when they came home? The National American Legion was organized by servicemen for servicemen at home.
Here in Springville, on Sept. 16, 1919 our Legion Post formed and was called Thurber Post 431 after Lynn Thurber, who lost his life in France. Six weeks later, by a majority of the votes, the name was changed to the Concord American Legion Post 431. The Legion met in several locations including the Waite Building, then called the Community Center and the Log Cabin until breaking ground, in 1991, for the location they now reside, 109 Zoar Valley Road.
In 1920, the American Legion Auxiliary was started at the National Convention. Concord American Legion Auxiliary Unit 431 was chartered.
Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. In 1932, the Sons of the Legion was formed, who are descendants of veterans.
Dec. 15, 1943 Past National Commander Harry W. Colmery starts to write the first draft of what will later become the GI Bill of Rights – considered the Legion's single greatest legislative achievement.
In June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the original GI Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act, ushering in monumental changes in U.S. society. Higher education becomes democratized after 8 million veterans go to school on the GI Bill, get better jobs, buy houses in the suburbs and raise families.
We will be celebrating the start of our 100th year by having Zoar Valley Road honorarily renamed to Legion Drive for a year. With the support of everyone, we will start the process of getting it permanently changed to Legion Drive. The ceremony will take place on Friday, Aug. 3 at the corner of South Cascade Drive and Zoar Valley Road at 2 p.m. Over the years the Legion Family has helped many veterans locally, in VA hospitals and homeless, along with children and youth of military families and those who are currently serving. We project to do this for many years to come. If we can be of any service to a veteran, military service member or their families, contact Legion Commander Thomas Place, Auxiliary President Anne Baglio or Sons of the Legion First Vice Dennis Otto.
For anyone interested in joining or questions regarding the Legion Family, contact Concord American Legion Post 431 at 592-5627 between 12-7 p.m.
Concord American Legion Post