Saturday, February 16, 2019

American Legion, The 1960s and 1970s: POWs, National Emergency Fund, Freedom Bell


SEPTEMBER 1, 1966--  The Legion voices concern over POWs in Vietnam and urges full accounting.  hat has now grown to include all wars.

AUGUST 24, 1969--  The Legion's National Executive Board establishes the  National Emergency Fund as a result of Hurricane Camille.  (Up to $3,000 for each member.)


MAY 1, 1972--  Legion implements a Halloween  safety program for children which remains the only national program in the country.

APRIL 1, 1975--  The Legion-sponsored Freedom Bell goes on the Freedom Train on its tour of the country for the U.S. Bicentennial.

Friday, February 15, 2019

American Legion 100, The 1940s and 1950s: The G.I. Bill and Human Causes

Stepping Back Through Legion History.


SEPTEMBER 19-22, 1942:  The Preamble of the Constitution of the American Legion is changed for the first and only time since it was written in 1919.  The word "War" was changed to "Wars."

DECEMBER 15, 1943:  Past National Commander  Harry W. Colmery starts to write in longhand the first draft of what will later become the G.I. Bill of Rights, considered to be the Legion's greatest legislative accomplishment.

JUNE 22, 1943:  President Franklin D, Roosevelt signs into law the original G.I. Bill, or Servicemen's Readjustment Act, helping former military to college education, better jobs in civilian life and ability to buy houses.

JULY 9, 1946:  The Legion and Auxiliary present a $50,000 grant to the struggling American Heart Association.


MAY 4, 1950:  The Legion contributes funds and plays a key role in the establishment of The National Association for Mental Health.

JULY 9, 1954:  The American Child Welfare  Foundation is formed.    So far more than $11 million has been given to it.  The piggy banks you see around the bar are for this cause.  Pop some change in them the next time you're at the Post.

The American Legion, A power for the Good.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

100th Anniversary of the American Legion-- Part 2: 1920s and 1930S

AUGUST 9, 1921

The Legion's efforts result in the creation of the  U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of today's Veterans Administration.

JULY 17, 1925

The Legion  creates the American Legion Baseball program.  About 82,000 youths play Legion ball each year.


The Sons of the American Legion is officially recognized at the National Convention in Portland, Oregon.

JUNE 23 , 1935

The First American Legion Boys State convenes in Springfield, Illinois.  Today, more than 19,500  young men participate in this as well as 98 in Boys Nation.

JUNE 11, 1938

The final round of the Legion's first annual  National High School  Oratorical Contest is conducted in Norman, Oklahoma.  Today, more than 3,400 high school students compete in this.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

100th Anniversary of the Legion Is March 15!!!

Happy Birthday to Us!!!

Our organization was founded on March 15-17,1919, in the American Club in Paris, France, by members of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) after the conclusion of World War I.  May 8-10, 1919, the St. Louis Caucus was held.  Then, on we'll have another anniversary on September 16, 1919, when the American Legion was formally chartered by the United States Congress.

So, this year, we will have three times to observe the 100th anniversary.

That's a lot of time and a lot of history.


It was at the St. Louis Caucus that the name "The American Legion" was adopted as the official name.  The draft preamble and constitution were approved.

On June 9, 1919, the National Executive Committee adopted the Legion emblem.

The American Legion Auxiliary was also formed in 1919.

November  10-12, 1919, the first Legion Convention was held in Minneapolis.  It was decided to locate the national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana, instead of Washington, D.C..


The very first post of the American Legion was actually established before March 15, 1919, when the General John Joseph Pershing Post 1 was established in Washington, D.C., on March 7 and obtained its charter on March 19.  According to the Legion Centennial website it is called the Pioneer Post.  However, now, the name of the organization appears to be the George Washington Post 1.

The Legion played a leading role in the drafting and passing of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the G.I. Bill.  In addition to organizing commemorative events, members provide assistance at VA hospitals and is politically involved in lobbying on behalf of veterans.

Also important, the Legion has always promoted Americanism.

From Wikipedia and the American Legion site.

Honor Roll For the Boys In the Service in 1918

From the December 19, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Honor rolls for the boys of the American Steel & Wire company who gave up their employment to enter service have recently been placed.  One is hung across from the office of the east and west works and contains the names of 107 men now in service.  The roll of honor at the north and south works contains the names of 25 boys.

"The honor rolls are hand made with the exception of a lithographed eagle with flags at the top and are works of art, and are so protected from the weather that they will remain there for some time to come."

Hopefully There Will Be Jobs Awaiting Them Upon Their Return.  --Cooter

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Malta Township Still Short On War Work Drive in 1918

From the December 19, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"The township of Malta is making  a final effort today to go over the top in the war work drive, and the chairman of the committee, Jesse Plapp, has a large force of workers out on the task of securing funds.

"The township is a few hundred dollars short of its quota, but the chairman and others are confident that a full quota will be subscribed before the drive closes."

War's Over, But Still Covering the Costs.  --Cooter

Monday, February 11, 2019

DeKalb To Get A New Library in 1918

From the October 24, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"War days over, DeKalb is to have a new library.  At least that is the plan of the board here, the initial steps toward the new building being taken in the buying  of the lot directly north of the Christian Science church fronting Oak and Third streets.

"The lot, which is part of the Glidden estate, is centrally located and it presents unusual advantages for a library building.  The deal has been closed, all the details having been arranged."


An Eagle Comes To DeKalb in 1918: Good Or Bad Wartime Omen?

From the November 7, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"What does the appearance of an eagle mean when it enters a town during wartime.  Is it a premonition of good or evil?

"More likely the bird wanted to rest and found DeKalb a neat spot.  The bird was seen by John Anderson and others who live near the Haish school.  It was a mammoth creature and most beautiful according to those who saw it."

Of course we now know that this was the time World War I was fast approaching its end.

By November  7, 1918, the War Was Almost Over.  --Cooter

Saturday, February 9, 2019

A Strange Aeroplane Over DeKalb County in 1918

From the October 24, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"A large aeroplane, flying high in the air and at a fast speed, passing over parts of DeKalb county this forenoon between 10 and 11 o'clock.  The machine was first seen when going over Hinckley and later it was seen as it passed over the northeast part of DeKalb by the piano workers.

"It is probable the machine was enroute from Rantoul to Camp Grant."

Rantoul was the site of Chanute Field which was used for airplanes during World War I.

At Least It Wasn't A German Attack By the Kaiser's Forces.  --DaCoot

Speak English Movement in 1918

From the October 10, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Speak English, write English and tell your family to  write and speak English, is the slogan now among the steel company plants here, and is but another follow-up plan of the recent Americanization meeting held here some time ago.

"On the occasion of the last pay day at the American Steel & Wire company, every check going to a worker of foreign nationality, was stamped, 'Speak English.' "


Thursday, February 7, 2019

Even With War Over, the United War Work Campaign Goes On

From the December 12, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Malta township must not fail in the United War Work campaign.    The quota for the township is $2,900, of this amount $2,490 has been subscribed.

"The committee will continue the drive until the full amount is raised  To those who have not made the full subscription there are three reasons why you should come across, and come across at once:  First, you owe it to the boys; second to maintain the township's honor; third to maintain your honor.


Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Save Your Nut Shells For Gas Masks

From the October 10, 2018,

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Save you nut shells,  and pits, stones and seeds from fruits, is the request sent out from the Illinois Food Administration.  Peach stones, date seeds, peach, prune, cherry, apricot, olive and plum pits, and Brazil nut, walnut and butternut shells are all needed for making the charcoal for gas masks for our army.

"Wood charcoal has proved to be deficient, so the government is sending out a plea to save every available fruit stone and pit and nut shell."


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

It Is OK To Drive to Church in 1918

From the October 3, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Advices from the State Fuel Administration to the local officials received today say:  "As to church, if they just intend to go to church and have no other means of getting there, that is all right, but it is not all right to go to go riding.

"Fuel Administrator Walter Proust received  the above message this afternoon from the state fuel administrator which will probably furnish the excuse for a good many people to use their rigs in going to church."

So, they even had a sort of fuel rationing back in World War I.


Monday, February 4, 2019

DeKalb County and the Spanish Flu and Polio

I get a lot of history items from the group that meets in the Joiner History Room at the Sycamore, Illinois, Library who go through DeKalb County newspapers 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago and cull stories to be used in their "Looking Back" column in the MidWeek newspaper.

It gives an interesting pulse as to events back then.

I don't know if they included every bit of news about the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918 or not.  But the ones they did print seem to point out that the epidemic hit the county hardest in the fall of 1918, causing school and public event/place closings to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.

By January the worst would seem to be over.  I have been unable to find out how many people had the disease or died from it in the county, however.

It would appear there was also a problem, seemingly as bad as the flu in regards to polio (infantile paralysis) and scarlet fever.


The Rollo School District Has Sickness Problems

From the December 19, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"The Rollo consolidated school opened Monday morning.  It is under somewhat trying conditions.  One teacher resigned and another was unable to be there on account of sickness in the home.

"But they soon hope to be in good working order.  The school work will be extra heavy for some time  on account of weeks of enforced closing during so much sickness."

The Spanish Flu.  --Cooter

Friday, February 1, 2019

Elva Closed Down Because of Infantile Patalysis

From the October 31, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

Elva's little world is almost at a standstill.  A case or so of infantile paralysis responsible for the closing of schools, the church has been closed because the pastor has resigned, and the clubs have been discontinued because of sickness.

"Residents there deem the extra precaution advisable.  It is probable, however, that the schoolrooms will be opened and that matters will be going along as formerly in Elva within a few days."


Thursday, January 31, 2019

Avoiding Infantile Paralysis in 1918

From the October 24, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"DeKalb people who have little folks,  and who are in the least  frightened as to the infantile paralysis here, may avoid any trouble and quiet all fears by having the family physician administer the the preventative serum.

"The board of health of the city has secured a quantity of this preventative serum which may be given by any doctor, and it has been doing wonderful work wherever used and should keep any child from the disease, if other precautions are taken."