In March 1960, one caravan of Legionnaires started on the Canada-North Dakota border, and another took off from the Texas-Mexico line, and drove longitudinally toward each other along the 1,875-mile U.S. highway, newly named in honor of the nation’s largest veterans organization.
Next Wednesday, nearly six decades later, history repeats itself along the American Legion Memorial Highway, U.S. 281, in honor of the organization’s 100th anniversary. The American Legion Centennial Ride – sponsored by the Legion’s Departments of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota – begins July 31 in southern Texas and Aug. 1 near the International Peace Park north of Dunseith, N.D.
The ride will feature a virtual ride-along online, following along with both teams as they visit more than 60 American Legion posts and other sites en route to the rendezvous point at Post 180 in Great Bend, Kan., on Aug. 4. There, two halves of a centennial banner – VISION on one half and LEGACY on the other – will be joined in a ceremony. Along the way, post commanders will have signed the banner, proclamations from communities will have been gathered, and they will be presented to American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad during the 101st American Legion National Convention on Aug. 27.
Daily dispatches, a tracker app and social media posts will appear on www.legion.org/centennial-ride. To follow the ride via social media use the hashtag #centennialride2019.