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 www.legion.org/centennial .