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Post 19 Story

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

 Post 19 was begun with an advertisement in the 21 September 1945 State Register, recruiting returning servicemen for an American Legion Post in Laurel.  The advertisement was placed by a local doctor (Dr J. A. WIlker) who was the vice commander of the American Legion of Delaware.

In early October 1945, a meeting of interested parties was held in the 1899 Laurel Fire House and an application was made for a Charter and Officers were elected with Roland Ellis becoming the first Post Commander.

On 5 November 1945, the American Legion Post 19 was installed at the Laurel High School Auditorium with a temporary Charter.  The installation was conducted by the American Legion of Delaware.

The Post conducted its first regular meeting on 14 November 1945.  The primary order of business was holding dances at the Laurel Armory on Saturday nights.  The Post continued to hold meetings at the old Fire Hall, the Armory, and the Grange Hall.  A permanent Charter was presented at the Laurel High School Auditorium in March 1946.  

Wives of the members were encouraged to form an auxiliary on 3 May 1946.  The drive was promoted by Dr J. A. Wilker's wife.  The Laurel American Legion Auxiliary was stood up on 31 May 1946, with Ann Thawley as the First President.

In October 1946, the Post supported constructing a War Memorial Fund for the purpose of remembering deceased military personnel and creating a meeting place for the Post.  The fund was disbanded in November 1946 and the idea of a memorial and Post meeting place was put on hold until February 1947.

The Laurel Legion Post 19 received a gift of land from Clarence Mitchell, a resident of Laurel, on the Millsboro Highway.  An American Legion Holding Company was formed to take charge of the legal aspects.

The Post began a campaign to raise funds for a permanent building which was the start of the current home.  The cellar construction began in May 1947 with Clarence Mitchell's widow digging the first shovelful of dirt.  A picture of the ceremony appeared in the 16 May 1947 State Register. 

From August 1947 to May 1949 various activities like carnivals, drawings for cars and appliances, and dances were used to collect funds to complete the home.  The current home with the War Memorial was dedicated on 30 May 1949 with Governor Elbert Carvel, Senator J. Alan Frear , and Congressman Caleb Boggs presiding.  A picture of the new Post appeared in the 5 June 1949 issue of the State Register.

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History of the American Legion

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

 

Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. 

For God and Country, we associate ourselves together for the following purposes

  • To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America;

  • to maintain law and order;

  • to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism

  • to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in all wars;

  • to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation;

  • to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses;

  • to make right the master of might;

  • to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy;

  • to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

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