By Connor Beach
Members from Huntington’s three American Legion posts were recognized by the town board on Tuesday in celebration of the organization’s 100th anniversary.
Veterans from American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244, Huntington Post 360 and Northport Post 694 accepted proclamations from Councilwoman Joan Cergol to acknowledge each post’s contributions to the community.
“You do so much to help make Huntington a great place to live, a community that thanks and respects those who served our country in times of war and in times of peace,” Cergol said. “Each one of the posts has supported the pillars established by the American Legion a century ago. You have done the American Legion proud, but just as important, you have done Huntington proud.”
The American Legion was first convened in 1919 by World War I combat troops in Paris, France, and officially chartered by Congress later that year. American Legion Huntington Post 360 was established soon after in 1921, and American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244 followed in 1943.
The organization was founded to help veterans dealing with the physical and emotional toll of war work their way back into civilian life, and now has over 2 million members in more than 13,000 posts worldwide.
Over the last century, the American Legion has developed into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. The organization’s lobbying on behalf of veterans has led to the creation of the Veterans Administration, passage of the GI Bill of Rights and spurred research to help veterans deal with PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange, atomic radiation and Gulf War illness.
American Legion posts around the world donate more than 3.7 million hours of volunteer service, assist on more than 181,000 VA benefits claims and cases and award more than $4 million in college scholarships.
Members of the local American Legion posts also help locate, identify and bury the remains of veterans and their spouses, as well as organizing burial services for deceased veterans who died without family.
Cergol, a member of the American Legion Auxiliary, called the town’s American Legion posts “integral parts of the community.”
The American Legion posts sponsor local Boy and Girl Scouts, organize Memorial Day parades, and provide food cards to needy veterans and support local food pantries.