For the past 100 years the Greenbush American Legion Post 88 has played a very civic and patriotic role in our community. On July 4, 2019, this important organization will have been in existence for an entire century.
The American Legion was founded March 15-17, 1919, by members of the American Expeditionary Forces still stationed in Europe awaiting passage home from World War I. Their experiences in what was called the “war to end all wars” would shape an enduring agenda for what became the nation’s largest organization of veterans.
Many of the Legion’s founders had voluntarily drilled in civilian military camps before the United States entered the war. Trained in the “Preparedness Movement,” several future Legion founders were commissioned as officers in the war and discovered firsthand the nation’s deficiencies in defense, citizenship and education. Soon after the war’s end, they also realized how poorly prepared the United States was to assist a wave of disabled and unemployed veterans who faced uncertain futures in their communities, states and the nation.
The American Legion built its legacy with a vision to make the nation prouder, stronger, smarter and more respectful of those who have sacrificed some, or all, in defense of the nation.
To read more about a brief history of the American Legion go to: www.legion.org/ .
The laying of the Greenbush American Legion foundation began to take shape in June of 1919, according to The Greenbush Tribune June 13 issue:
On Saturday evening, June 21, at 8 o’clock in the village hall at Greenbush all veterans of the World War are requested to meet to organize a post in connection with the American Legion. Officers will be elected at this time. All veterans in this part of the county are urged to be present. Posts are being formed all over the United States and it is advisable to get the local men organized as soon as possible so that the state and national organizations may be perfected. Don’t forget to be present June 21.
On June 16, The Greenbush Tribune reprinted a post card sent to J.J. Walsh:
Your presence is requested at the village hall, Greenbush, on Saturday, June 21, for the purpose of organizing a local chapter of The American Legion, election of permanent officers and election of delegates to the Polk County Convention, Crookston, July 1, 2, and 3. The committee on entertainments for the July 4th celebration at Greenbush has requested that a parade and drill be put on by the returned service men and therefore it will be necessary to get together and get a little preliminary work-out. A.K. Czyrson, Chairman.
The July 4 issue read: Olaf Dufwa of Greenbush, George Sperling of Warroad, Bennie Torfin of Wannaska and Clarence Oie of Roseau are the Roseau county World War veterans selected to represent the county at the American Legion district convention at Crookston on July 1 and 2. The American Legion is the G.A.R. organization of the war which came officially to a close this week. Three posts have already been organized in Roseau county, Warroad, Greenbush, and Roseau.
Note: G.A.R. stands for Grand Army of the Republic, a forerunner of the American Veterans organization.
The July 11, 1919, issue reported: An American Legion post was organized in Greenbush on July 4, with 31 members signing up. A.K. Czyrson was elected chairman and C.W. Morris secretary-treasurer. Every returned soldier in this part of the county is urged to join this post.
Today, mounted on the wall of the foyer at the Greenbush Public Library is a touching display in commemoration of the Greenbush Centennial in 2005. The inscription reads: The American Legion Greenbush Moen-Zimek Post 88 acknowledges and honors its veterans and those now serving in the military, present members of Moen-Zimek Post 88 and Gold Star members of Moen-Zimek Post 88.
Approximately 700 plus names are listed. The list was ended on December 31, 2004.
At the 2019 Memorial Day observance the roll call for deceased American Legion Veterans numbered 207 Gold Star members.
The current roster lists 86 Legion members of Post 88.
To see the complete story, read the June 26 issue of The Tribune in print or online.