The Hinsdalean - Community journalism the way it was meant to be

Post 250 receives our salute at series' close

 

November 7, 2019 | View PDF



With the approach of Veterans Day on Monday, our collective spirit of gratitude is directed to those who put on the uniform and, in many cases, put themselves in harm’s way to defend this nation from threats to freedom.

Over the past year we’ve published a series of stories on a venerable Hinsdale organization dedicated to serving and advocating for the nation’s veterans, American Legion Post 250. The post is among the oldest in the country, formed shortly after the American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 in to support those returning from the battlefields of World War I.

We kicked off the series with a look back at the history of the village’s post, like the integral role it and the companion ladies’ group, the Hinsdale Auxiliary, played in the construction of Memorial Hall and the post’s efforts, in partnership with residents, to collect needed resources for the World War II campaign. And the national organization works as an advocate for veterans in advancing, or opposing, pertinent legislative measures.

“I can recall collecting tin cans as a kid and going house to house, supplying bags for them to put the tin cans in,” said 9O-year-old Don Lindsay, a post member who served with the Army in Korea.

The longstanding post-sponsored student essay contest annually challenges the community’s youth to reflect on the meaning of patriotism. The Memorial Day procession and program provides a solemn opportunity for all to pay their respect to the fallen, made more poignant as the number of WWII veterans available to participate declines with each passing year.

Readers learned about Boys State, a summertime camp hosted by the American Legion where rising high school seniors learn about citizenship and government through mock elections, lectures and team-building experiences.

“It’s truly an incredible experience,” said Hinsdale Central student and participant David Chu.

The Hinsdale Auxiliary sponsors Girls State to similarly equip young women leaders. Both Post 250 and the auxiliary, readers discovered, were given perpetual use of the Soldiers and Sailors Room on Memorial Hall’s second floor as a show of appreciation for collecting funds to build the local landmark. Auxiliary members continue to support the post by sponsoring the yearly Poppy Day sales and helping at post events.

“The men seem to really enjoy having us around for different activities, just our presence. They make us feel welcome,” said auxiliary president Carol Baumann.

Post member Jack Orbell shared what American Legion membership means to him, and we also looked at the future prospects of an organization whose ranks are dwindling amidst shifts in the nature of military service and societal tendencies at large.

The nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization is certainly at a crossroads as it looks back on a century of commitment to veterans and ahead to what the next century may hold. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to tell the story of American Legion Post 250, a valuable community within the village to whom all owe a debt of gratitude.

 
 

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