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The American Legion marks its centennial on Friday, and we congratulate both the national organization and the local post that has been an integral part of Ketchikan life for all these years.
First organized on March 19, 1919, by members of the American Expeditionary Force in Paris in the aftermath of World War I, the American Legion was chartered by the U.S. Congress in September 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization, according to American Legion information.
In its own words, the legion is “committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.”
Those goals have been evident in Ketchikan’ American Legion post — which has its origins in the same year that the national organization was founded.
The early history of the Ketchikan post was vividly recounted in a 2004 story written by the late June Allen.
In July of 2019, she wrote, 72 Ketchikan veterans of World War I joined a group called the Sons of Democracy.
Its membership had grown to 117 members by 1920 when the group decided to join the national American Legion and became Ketchikan Post #3.
Allen’s story, published in Sitnews, details a wide variety of worthy Post #3 activities and projects during its early years.
“The American Legion Post #3 has accomplished so many feats and spearheaded so many activities over the years — from stage plays to memorable ball games to community events — that it would take an entire book to list them all!” Allen wrote.
The Ketchikan post, now known as Joseph T. Craig Post #3, has maintained these traditions of patriotism and service to veterans and community through to the current day.
Ketchikan can be proud of this history, and grateful for the ongoing commitment.
The Ketchikan Gateway Borough, City of Ketchikan and City of Saxman have proclaimed Friday as “The American Legion Centennial Day.” We join with them in saluting the American Legion and the local members who so well represent their organization, their community and their nation.