American Legion long a part of village

Series: Hinsdale 150 | Story 22

Hinsdale American Legion Post 250, whose members will lead Memorial Day observations in town Monday, May, 29 (see Page 17 for details), has been part of the village since 1919.

The post was featured in The Hinsdalean's Making a Difference series in 2019 to mark its 100th anniversary. Following are excerpts from the series' introductory article, which ran April 18.

When Congress chartered the American Legion in 1919 and Hinsdale Post 250 was formed shortly after, the goals of the organization - as stated in the preamble to its constitution - were straightforward. And lofty.

"For God and country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a 100 percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the Great War; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness."

Post 250 had additional goals, according to a one-page article in the Memorial War Review it published in April 1920. The group was not looking for parades and recognition for its members, according to the article, but to serve as a "vital force shaping the future of our country and demanding a spirit of true Americanism from all its citizens and respect and admiration for all foreigners."

And the Legion has done so in many ways, said Joe Craig, a 20-year member who is a past commander and unofficial post historian.

Caring for veterans has been an ongoing theme since the end of World War I. Old post newsletters Craig has read discussed the benefits that should be provided to veterans of the Great War and the Civil War. Three decades later, the topic was supporting veterans of World War II.

"It's almost like the same discussion we're having today about how we're caring for the Gulf War veterans and the Vietnam veterans," he said. ...

At the local level, Post 250 found a variety of ways to support members of the Armed Forces while they were serving and once they returned home, first from World War I and then from World War II.

Post member Don Lindsey has enjoyed researching the many ways the post, with help from village residents, supported the war effort in the early 1940s. At age 90, he's in a position to remember much of what he's reading firsthand.

"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 Lindsey, who served in the Army in Korea. ...

The post's efforts help ensure students today are learning enough about history, geography and civics, Craig said.

"A big thing of the American Legion is to promote some sort of Americanism, to appreciate what the country is and how you can make it better."

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Pamela Lannom is editor of The Hinsdalean