Thousands of veterans and their families will pour into Louisville, Ky., for the 91st American Legion National Convention Aug. 21-27. They will hear from national leaders, attend competitions, enjoy entertainment, meet in committees and pass resolutions. More than 1,000 Legion family members, Legion Riders, active-duty and reserve military, local officials, and Legion and area bands will parade through downtown streets.
Called the “northernmost southern city” by some and the “southernmost northern city” by others, Louisville is first and foremost a river city. Its “eye candy” includes historic vistas, turn-of-the-century Victorian edifices, and parks and state forests. At the same time, the city bursts at the seams with hidden treasures, discovered only by venturing through back streets and alleys of distinctive neighborhoods.
Louisville is an eclectic city, both Old World and modern. It is steeped in southern hospitality and gentility, yet proud of its progressive educational, medical, business and financial communities. Louisville’s medical community is famous for groundbreaking research and life-changing surgical procedures.
The city has a rich historical connection with the military. George Rogers Clark founded the first civilian settlement in the area on Corn Island in 1778. Col. Clark built a fort to protect locals from the British and Indians. The settlement later moved ashore and was named Louisville for King Louis XVI of France, who provided military support to Americans fighting the Revolutionary War.
During the Civil War, federal forces used Louisville as a center for planning, supplies, recruiting and transportation for numerous Union military campaigns. In World War II, the city was a production center for the C-46 Commando cargo plane and other aircraft.
Today, the Louisville area is home to more than 23,000 soldiers, Marines and their family members at Fort Knox. Army Recruiting Command and the ROTC’s Eastern Region staff are headquartered there.
The Patton Museum of Armor and Cavalry also is located at Fort Knox. It boasts one of the largest collections of armored vehicles and Patton exhibits in the world, including his ivory-gripped Colt pistols and the staff car in which he was fatally injured in December 1945.
So come on down to Louisville, Legionnaires. There’s plenty to do and see in the land of bluegrass, bourbon, the Derby and KFC’s Colonel Sanders. Don’t miss the 91st National Convention – it’s bound to be “finger-lickin’ good”!
– James V. Carroll
To register for The American Legion’s 91st National Convention in Louisville, contact the department adjutant in the state where you reside or where your membership is held. All housing reservations must be made via your department adjutant. Hotels will not accept individual reservations. Click here for more information. Nightlife
Fourth Street Live in the heart of downtown Louisville is an excellent place to begin an evening, with more than 20 restaurants, bars and nightclubs under one roof. Where do the locals eat? Try a restaurant that is a member of Louisville Originals, an association of more than 50 independent restaurants where patrons are likely to be greeted and seated by the owners. Google “Louisville Originals Members Listing” for restaurant profiles, Web sites and advance online reservations. Electric scooter/wheelchair rental
For members of the Legion family who may need to rent electric scooters/wheelchairs, contact Gould’s Discount Medical, 3901 Dutchman’s Lane, Louisville, at (502) 491-2000 or toll-free (800) 876-6846.
Lunch and dinner cruises on the Belle of Louisville or the Spirit of Jefferson launch daily. The two-hour cruises launch at noon, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Lunch is $27 and dinner is $37. To save some money, be sure to ask for the 10-percent military discount. Boarding time is a half hour before launch. Make reservations online. Outdoors
Louisville boasts 122 city parks. Waterfront Park has rolling hills, spacious lawns and walking paths on Louisville’s waterfront and in the downtown area. And don’t forget the Louisville Zoo, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and the Falls of the Ohio National Wildlife Conservation. Indoors
Museum Row in downtown’s West Main District is home to the Frazier International History Museum, which features a collection of arms, armor and related historical artifacts spanning 1,000 years. The collection fills three stories, with a high number of U.S. and British military items. Also nearby is the Louisville Science Center, which offers Kentucky’s largest hands-on interactive science exhibits, IMAX films and educational programs. Also on Museum Row is the Muhammad Ali Center, which features boxing memorabilia of the Louisville native. Of course, a visit to the River City isn’t complete without stopping by the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in downtown Louisville – particularly the 60,000-pound bat leaning against the building.
EssentialDetails is a Louisville tour company that will be providing tour packages during National Convention. Click here for more information.