SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The American Legion turns 100 this year — and legionnaires across the country are preparing for their centennial celebration.
Congress chartered the American Legion after World War I in 1919.
"Four army officers including Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Junior met in Paris, France, they understood there’s going to be a lot of doughboys coming back that were going to need help," explained Low-McFarlane Post 14 Commander, Dennis Engdahl.
Since then, members across the country have dedicated their time to serving other veterans and their community.
“A lot of people think we’re just a social organization that gets together and that’s not true,” Engdahl said. “We’ve got child welfare programs, we’ve got programs for American Legion Baseball, we sponsor Boy Scout Troops.”
That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the organization's civic engagements.
Engdahl, a Navy veteran, joined the American Legion so he could continue to serve, "I wanted to be amongst other veterans."
Six months after the organization was founded, Shreveport's Post 14 was chartered. The Lowe-McFarlane Post is enmeshed in it's own history and a hallway of artifacts bring that history to life.
At one point in time, the Lowe-McFarlane Post 14 was the largest post in the country with over 5,000 members. Now, at nearly 700 members strong, the post remains a fixture of pride, honor and service overlooking Cross Lake since 1948.
Many describe the American Legion as a place where veterans can be with each other and, if they need to, share their experiences.
“Oh yes, a lot of stories exchanged,” Engdahl continued. “Every time you come in, there are stories going about different things that happened to them when they were in the service. It’s a good relaxing time.”
Unfortunately, many Legion chapters across the country can attest, attracting new members has become increasingly difficult.
Despite the lower numbers, the members of the American Legion will continue its legacy of service to others and their communities.
Tickets are just $15 and you must RSVP by March 5th to join them in celebrating. There will be dinner, a band and lots of fellowship.