American Legion Celebrates 100th Birthday

CASSADAGA — The American Legion was formed in March 1919, 100 years ago.

The Cassadaga American Legion Post 1280 held a “birthday” dinner to recognize the 100th year, and present various awards. The event was held at the legion dining room on Maple Avenue in the village with a wonderful catered meal. More than 75 people were present for the dinner. Legion Post 1280 Commander Rusty Jones opened the event with a welcome to all, and led all in the pledge of allegiance. The invocation prior to the meal was given by Legion Chaplain Diane K. Shaw.

Following the meal, Adjutant Karl Lawson conducted a POW-MIA service, explaining the various items on the table of those who are not forgotten. Young Miss Hilliker received an award for the young people of the Legion, and set a special table of items for those who serve in the military and are away from their families. Commander Jones then introduced all the guests of the evening. Chautauqua County Commander of the American Legion Scott Dearing spoke about the history of the legion.

The legion is made up of Veterans, military personnel, Auxiliary members and Sons of the American Legion, said Dearing. He completed his speech with the message that we need to keep this organization strong. Representing the Auxiliary, Sally Lawson thanked the many who serve in various committees, dinners and keeping the Legion running smoothly.

Special thanks were extended to Kathi Runkle for organizing funeral luncheons, and to Ranee Kaus for many other duties within the legion. Chautauqua County Auxiliary president Pat Hayward also spoke, with thanks to the many who serve the Legion. Sons of American Legion Commander Diman Smith presented a number of awards to those who have done outstanding work, and also included some history of his family of Veterans. John Miga, Commander for the 8th District, spoke telling that the legion is three million strong, and does many community programs such as scholarships, sponsor young people, work with the Scouts, donate blood and is the nation’s largest organization.

Past Legion Commander Bruce Kaus reported that the Cassadaga American Legion is the number one purchaser of American Flags, and that 215 American flags will be on display in the village of Cassadaga on the poles along the streets beginning with Memorial Day.

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