The American Legion is a patriotic organization of Veterans of World Wars I and II, Korea and the Vietnam Wars. (This was written in 1976) Its main purposes are advancing aims and interests of veterans and continuing friendships formed while they were in service and seeing that disabled veterans receive the care and help that they need.
A group of veterans met in May of 1919 in St. Louis Missouri to adopt a constitution and make plans for a permanent organization. The United States granted the organization a charter in September of 1919. Post No. 1 came to be known as the George Washington Post in the District of Columbia.
A group was organized shortly after that in Effingham County but no record has been found of its organization, membership or date it was disbanded.
In March of 1946, a group of interested veterans met at the Effingham County Courthouse for the purpose of organizing a post of the American Legion in the county. The charter for Effingham County Post 209 of the American Legion is dated April 17, 1947.
Meetings were held in the National Guard Armory Building, county courthouse and later a vacant building on Laurel Street in Springfield.
About 1950, a tract of 5 ½ acres of land in the southern section of Springfield on Laurel Street was purchased from a prominent family for $1.00. The first building was the former Church of Christ from the Racepath community which was purchased and moved. The present block building was begun in 1951.
Outstanding work of the post has been the erection of a monument on the Effingham County Courthouse square honoring veterans of the wars. This was accomplished with individual contributions and the support of the Effingham County Board of Commissioners.
A ladies Auxiliary to the post was chartered June 14, 1951. This is for mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of the members of the post.
Each year the Legion and Auxiliary have sent representatives to Boys’ State and Girls’ State. These are held separately for one week on a campus of a college in Georgia where they study national, state and local government. The purpose is to help youth appreciate our democratic form of government. In the past the post has sponsored American Legion baseball teams composed of boys and girls from the county.
Each year the post presents an Americanism award to a graduating senior of Effingham County High School. They award a medal to the student and their name is engraved on a plaque in the school principal’s office. (This was written prior to 2 high schools in the county.)
For years the Post and Auxiliary helped sponsor the Effingham County Fair. Many members contributed many hours of hard work to this community project.
The main projects of the Post and Auxiliary are aiding veterans and their families and community projects. One of their projects at Christmas is delivering gifts to the VA Hospitals in Augusta for the patients.
This was written by Past Commander of Post 209, A. F. “Lonnie” Alderman and published in “The Bicentennial History of Effingham County Georgia 1733-1976.”
In last week’s article about the Salzburgers, John Robert Pevey should have been credited with research and assistance with the article published. We regret the omission.
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