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American Legion Celebrating 100 Years

by Bobby Blair
January 8, 2019

American Legion Post 47 color guard marches through the town square, circa late 30's, early 40's.

So just how do you celebrate when your 100 years old? The American Legion, the nation's oldest veterans organization had its beginnings in Paris, France in March of 1919. A caucus was held in St. Louis in May and the Legion's first convention was held in Minneapolis in November of 1919. On the local scene, Holliston would become the American Legion's 47th post in Massachusetts in early 1920. Local Holliston American Legion members are undecided whether to celebrate the national organization's birthday or their own post's centennial beginnings.

Walter Moynihan, above, would serve as Post 47's first commander in 1920. The post would be named after Charles F. Duford, the first man from Holliston to be killed in WWI.

The post met at various locations around town, and it wasn't until after WWII that members found a permanent location at 13 Exchange Street, purchasing the former GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) building from the Sons of Vets. Above, Legion members at their carnival held at Goodwill Park, circa 1950. Left to right, Red Chapin, Ned Wise, Bill Hamlet, Paul Mahoney, Ed Serocki & Hock Hayden. The Legion's membership exploded to over 400 veterans after WWII, many of those members coming from Cushing Hospital in Framingham. The post was known statewide as "the biggest little post in the state".

With Cushing Hospital members from WWII transitioning back to their homes across the country during the 40's & 50's, the post once again saw a decline in membership. With the controversy surrounding the Vietnam War, veterans from the era were hesitant to join local veterans organizations. It wasn't until the local post got rid of their 25 cent beer machine and added a full bar to their post quarters that membership began to rise again topping off above 225 in the 80's. Above, the post's color guard during the town's 250th Anniversary in 1974. Front, left to right, Bernie Blaney, Ernie Neilsen, Bobby Blair, Tom Mahoney & Harold Shea. Rear, left to right, Everett Blair, Bobby Ludwick & James Dalton.

During the Depression years of the 30's the post sponsored a drum & bugle corps which performed around New England. The band was managed by Charles Maguire of Arch Street & Jerome Moore of School Street.

Faced once again with a declining membership in the late 1990's due to the loss of WWI & gradual loss of WWII veterans, the Legion sold its post quarters on Exchange Street in 1999 and would meet at the local VFW. Shortly thereafter the above veterans were presented with 50 year membership pins, circa 2003. Front row left to right, Stan Olmstead, Donald "Bud" Rawson" & Everett Blair. Rear left to right, Bill Murphy, Ed Serocki, Frank Serocki, Don Bolin & Bobby Moore. All have now passed.

The local post is now contemplating what events it will hold to celebrate the national & local birthdates. HollistonReporter.com will keep our readers updated.

 

 

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Comments (1)

Thank you so much for sharing these photos- stirs up so much gratitude and overwhelming sense of history.

- pat fuller | 1/8/19 10:32 PM

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