Editorial: Help celebrate the national American Legion's 100th birthday at local event on Saturday

A milestone birthday will be celebrated on Saturday in Dalton as American Legion Post 112 marks 100 years of service of its parent organization, the American Legion.

Congress chartered the American Legion in 1919. The group has grown to more than two million U.S. military veterans with members in more than 13,000 posts around the world.

The national group's genesis sprung from a group of World War I veterans. According to the national American Legion's mission, "It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans."

The local celebration, which is open to Legion members and the public, is by reservation only and starts at 6 p.m. For more information or to make reservations, call (706) 226-5120. The guest speaker is Wells Ellenberg, governmental affairs manager for Southern Company, a utility company based in Atlanta.

While we are excited to commemorate the American Legion's 100 years of service to our nation, we can also take this opportunity to fete our local American Legion. The local post was formed in 1932 and has about 430 members. They are known for their service not only to our veterans, but also to our community.

Two of their more visible endeavors are helping to organize the Memorial Day Community Celebration each May and the Veterans Day parade and ceremony each November. Both events are well-attended by the community, giving us a chance to show our appreciation to those who have served in the military.

Another critical service Post 112 provides is its Honor Guard. A veteran who has been honorably discharged that has passed away can have an Honor Guard ceremony at his or her funeral. The ceremony consists of firing of the rifles, the playing of "Taps," folding the flag and presenting the flag to the next of kin.

The local post has regular flag retirement ceremonies where used, tattered flags are disposed of in a dignified way. Each year, Post 112 recognizes the first responders of Dalton and Whitfield County with its "First Responders of the Year" ceremony. American Legion Auxiliary Unit 112 awards nursing scholarships to deserving students.

American Legion Post 112 provides many more services and programs to the community. We are extremely fortunate to have such a caring, involved group here.

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