No, this is not an advertisement for the upcoming blockbuster movie, but like the premise of the movie, this is the “endgame” for The American Legion. Our centennial celebration only comes once and once it’s gone there’s no reclaiming it, no rewinding, and no traveling back in time.
The American Legion’s 100th birthday, March 15, is right around the corner. We have been promoting this event for the last five years or more as ideas have circulated, articles written and support from leadership have come in many forms. The time has come.
On March 15, it will be 100 years since the doughboys sat in Paris to begin the process of organizing The American Legion. Pop the champagne corks, cut the birthday cake and celebrate the achievements of this great organization.
Some of you reading this are at ease because you are ready, but for others, the sudden weight of fear is maybe settling into your chest. The once in a 100-year event is now upon us. Can it be salvaged if you have done little to nothing to prepare? Yes, it can.
Get to work right now on what needs to be accomplished such as planning a ceremony, even a small one, with birthday cake and invite post members, local dignitaries and community members. Use the Centennial Media Kit found online at www.centennial.legion.org/tools and immediately contact your city council and mayor to have them proclaim the 100-year celebration at your ceremony. Contact your state representatives and have them present a resolution to your post for the occasion.
Using the media kit example, write a press release for your local paper about your ceremony and include a few history pieces and accomplishments about your post and The American Legion. It may end up being short, but if it is sweet, it will get printed. And don’t forget to remind the public in the press release about what you do now for the veterans, active-duty military, their families, youth and the community.
If your post does not have a building, call your local library, historical society, theater or concert hall. The place doesn’t matter, only the significance of the day does. You are celebrating an event, not a building.
Don’t let the prospect of the endgame turn this day into a pile of dust; draw your weapon of choice, the pen or the computer and get to work. You can save the day, and you can take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime event for your post.