Councilwoman Joan Cergol recognized the upcoming 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion by honoring Huntington’s three American Legion Posts at the Town Board meeting on March 5.
Created by World War I combat troops returning from Europe, the American Legion began with the goal of helping veterans dealing with the physical and emotional toll of war work their way back into civilian life. It built its identity on four pillars of advocacy: veterans; defense; youth and Americanism.
It has grown to an organization that now numbers three million members when the American Legion Auxiliary, including Cergol, and the Sons of the American Legion are included. Over the years, Cergol said, its lobbying on behalf of veterans has led to the creation of the Veterans Administration, passage of the GI Bill of Rights and research to help veterans deal with PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange, atomic radiation and Gulf War illness. American Legion posts around the world donate more than 3.7 million hours of volunteer service and 80,000 pints of blood and provide assistance on more than 181,000 VA benefits claims and cases; and award more than $4 million in college scholarships.
Cergol said, that Huntington’s three posts – Greenlawn Post 1244, Halesite Post 360 and Northport Post 694 — are integral parts of a variety of community activities. Those activities include: sponsoring high school students for Boys and Girls State; helping locate, identify and bury the remains of veterans and their spouses and holding services for veterans who had no family to claim them; organizing Memorial Day parades; and providing food cards to needy veterans and supporting local food pantries.