Past National Commander and Past National Adjutant Robert W. Spanogle discussed the Legion's new Centennial Celebration website.

Centennial Celebration website gains popularity

Preparations continue for The American Legion’s 100th anniversary – a 15-month celebration that will begin in 2018 and continue through Veterans Day 2019. Attendees of the October Fall Meetings at National Headquarters in Indianapolis received updates on the Centennial Celebration website, the 100th Anniversary Observance Honorary Committee and more.

On Oct. 15, 100th Anniversary Observance Committee chairman and Past National Commander/Past National Adjutant Robert W. Spanogle, along with committee member and Department of Missouri Adjutant Lowry Finley-Jackson, discussed the popularity of the new interactive Centennial Celebration website. The site serves as a place for local posts around the world to gather and upload their own histories.

At the moment, 36 of the 55 departments, and a total of 78 posts, are represented on the site. Spanogle and Finley-Jackson walked department commanders and adjutants in attendance through the site, and Finley-Jackson described how her department has gotten organized to celebrate the centennial, heavily utilizing the districts. Spanogle emphasized that the real history of the Legion is in the posts, "National is a clearinghouse," he said.

During Fall Meetings, National Commander Daniel Dellinger recommended, and the NEC approved, the appointment of the first five members of the national honorary committee – public figures with ties to, or who have been influenced by, the Legion. They are:

- Former network newscaster Tom Brokaw, who was a South Dakota American Legion Boys State delegate and American Legion Baseball player

- Purdue University President Mitch Daniels, who participated in Boys State and Boys Nation

- Gen. Lester Lyles, former vice chief of staff for the U.S. Air Force, and chairman of the board of directors for USAA, The American Legion’s preferred provider of financial services

- Maj. Gen. Patrick Brady, Medal of Honor recipient and former chairman of the Legion’s Citizens Flag Alliance

- Jamie (Beyerle) Gray, former Junior Shooting Sports champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist

National Historian Charemon Dunham – a member of the national observance committee – gave her annual report to the NEC, during which she repeated the challenge she had laid down earlier in the week at the NADHAL (National Association of Department Historians of The American Legion) meeting: for all departments to get 100 percent participation from their posts on the Centennial Celebration website.

Learn more about Legion history on every level at


  1. You are invited to our annual meeting to be held May 12, 2015 Bill Knaak Adjutant, 651-483-9261
  2. As one of the first American Legion Posts organized at the University of Minnesota, our membership promotes taking on new/old veterans who support our country and and the educational and research programs offered. We promote interest in preserving a strong national defense posture.
  3. American Legion University of Minnesota Post 548 was founded after World War II primarily by University of Minnesota employees many of whom had been associated with the University Medical School and Hospital prior to or during the War before entering service. The medical school was federalized early in the war and significant numbers of University medical staff were conscripted as commissioned medical officers. Later, as Post 548 was formed they were joined in Post 548 by other University faculty and employees who were in administration, plant management or other university services. At that time, many if not most had residences in the area. Membership was open, never restricted to University employees, although new joiners tended to have some University interest, such as being alumni. Given its heritage origin, Post 548 never built a social club, never formed a women’s auxiliary, never sponsored or managed a baseball team, joined “Freedom Riders,” or profited from pull-tabs. Post 548 has contributed financially and with service to the Legion youth agenda with Boys’ and Girl’s State, Youth Oratorical Contests, Americanization activities, and Legionville. Post 548 has also supported Veteran assistance activities such as national and state lobbying for Veterans’ benefits, the Veteran’s Homes, Pheasants Forever, POW/MIA, and more recently, the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program. However, since its inception, Post 548’s focus has been HEALTH -- Health for American veterans nationally and statewide, and for all Americans. It has capitalized its unique relationship with the famed University of Minnesota Hospital and Medical School and the Minneapolis Veteran’s Hospital (arguably the nation’s best). Post 548 members provided initial and continuing leadership in what became a mammoth fundraising effort of the Minnesota Legion Department, the Auxiliary and most local posts for the University of Minnesota Heart Chair. It eventually evolved into the Universities’ Heart Hospital and renowned Transplant Center. A similar leadership effort for members of Post 548, in collaboration with the Brain Science Foundation and the Veterans Administration, supported with Department level, Auxiliary and local post fund raising in the 1990’s brought together the Brain Science Chair at the University with its research accompaniments. The veteran-focused spinal injury research and treatment center at the VA Hospital has followed But Post 548, like most of the metro area posts has had a declining membership base, as first WW II and the Korean Conflict membership has been passing on. It has many members who are basically inactivated by age but still retain American Legion interest. Post 548 has never had the community social activity, Auxiliary, and gambling glue that has helped greater Minnesota posts attract new members and remain more stable. To retain the tradition and benefits of the University, Health and VA and Local Legion Post connection, Post 548 is exploring moving to a mostly digital post, embracing social media technology to persuade qualified potential Legionnaires such as students and others who are members but not active in local posts, or who are resident in Veteran’s homes, but who want to be a part of this University-Legion effort, to join us. This would enable them to have a better connection to the National American Legion and the Minnesota Department as well take officer positions and be a part of local Post 548 specific communication and missions.
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