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American Legion’s National and Local History shared

By Staff | Aug 21, 2019

CAROL SHETLER/The Luminary CAP - Glenn Crossley, Commander of the Montgomery American Legion Post 251, cuts a cake decorated for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion. Crossley spoke of the century old event adding the history of local Post 251 at the monthly meeting of the Montgomery Area Historical Society.

MONTGOMERY – Glenn Crossley, Commander of Montgomery American Legion Post 251, was guest speaker at the August 15 gathering of the Montgomery Area Historical Society.

The occasion was the marking of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Legion. In addition, the Commander shared the history and current accomplishments of Post 251.

Service to fellow veterans and generosity to the community are the hallmarks of Legion Posts to which Commander Crossley identified. One of the many important services is providing an honor guard for veteran’s funerals. “It requires 14 to 15 men to do this, and Post 251 cooperates with legions in Sonestown, Hughesville and Muncy,” Crossley said. He named the number of flag bearers, rifle carries, a bugler and the commander of the honor guard. “We are at approximately 45 burials a year, that’s almost one per week,” said the Commander.

“Other activities include planning and hosting Memorial Day services. Two weeks prior, Post 251 places 1800 flags on Veteran’s graves in Montgomery Area Cemeteries. Two private grave sites are also included, that of Revolutionary War soldier Michael Secular, and William Hummel, the infamous murderer who had received an honorable discharge from the Civil War,” Crossley said.

Lycoming County Legions rotate in hosting the annual Veteran’s Day Parade, which Post 251 did last year. This Nov. 9, Montoursville will host.

Each Flag Day, June 14, the post along with Muncy and Jersey Shore, hold a service in which flags are properly disposed. “We have a box in front of the post where tattered flags can be dropped off any time of year. The service consists of a prayer; each flag is then passed to the Vice Commander, then the Commander. This year’s service of disposing nearly 1,000 flags lasted three hours,” said Crossley.

The generosity of Post 251 to the community is stellar. Among recipients identified were four scholarships to Montgomery High School seniors, Oddesy of the Mind, the Fishing Derby, and the Summer Alive program for youth. Crossley accounted that, “Next year, the Post will begin sponsoring annually the names of two veterans for the ‘Home Town’ flag initiative. We’ve already selected those for 2020; they are Mrs. Stacy Kissenger who served in Iraq, and Kathy Ranck of the Nurse Corps.”

The Commander lauded the Auxiliary for their monthly monetary gifting to the local food bank. hey also supply gift cards to patients at Wilkes-Barre Veteran’s Hospital. “At various times they sent 15 to 20 care packages to those who served during Desert Storm. As a thank you, we received flags flown in Iraq currently on display at the Legion home,” Crossley said.

On Sept. 21, rain or shine from noon until 5 p.m., Post 251 will host the public to the 100th celebration of the American Legions with a band, DJ, and food. The Legion’s preamble will be read and opportunity given for membership applications. If not a veteran, social memberships are available to the public, a way to support the Legion’s causes.

The American Legion was established as an advocacy for veterans with its national headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana. Also, each state has a headquarters with Pennsylvania’s at Womerleysburg along Route 15 adjacent Harrisburg.

Posts in each state are numbered consecutively as applications were received to be chartered. Post 251 was established in April 1922 and is known as the Bower-Decker Post.