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American Legion, Salem Post No. 19 — 1924

Salem, Virginia

American Legion 1924

Salem Post No.19 was organized at a meeting of honorably discharged service men held at the county courthouse in Salem on October 2, 1919. Fifteen ex-service men had already applied for and obtained a charter for such a local Post, pending organization. These men were: R. H. Barnes, G. N. Finke, W. A. Haislip, H. W. Irving, P. G. Jones, T. L. Keister, R. S. Kime, G. A. L. Kolmer, D. S. McClung, S. H. McVitty, E. K. Perrow, G. A. Scruggs, A. P. Wagener, C. F. Webber and M. D. Webber. At this meeting the Post was formally organized, a number of additional men being elected to membership. T. L. Keister was elected as the first commander, with R. S. Kime as adjutant and S. H. McVitty as treasurer.

The officers of Salem Post during the years subsequent to its organization have been as follows: DIn 1920, M. D. Webber, commander; W. L. Brown, adjutant; S. H. McVitty, treasurer. In 1921: W. H. Crawford, commander; A. P. Wagener, adjutant; S. H. McVitty, treasurer. In 1922: J. B. Griflin, commander; C. F. Webber, adjutant; W. L. Brown, treasurer. In 1923: J. S. Critselous, commander W. A. Haislip, adjutant; G. A. L. Kolmer, treasurer. The officers of the present year (1924) are: A. P. Wagener, commander; R. S. Kime, vice-commander; W. A. Haislip, adjutant; G. A. L. Kolmer, treasurer. The executive commrnittee consists of the above officers and T. L. Keister, M. D. Webber and J. S. Critselous.

Owing to local conditions, Salem Post has never developed into a strong social organization. The members have felt rather that the Post should serve as an agency through which the ex-service men of the community might be united for mutual benefit, national memorial days might be fittingly observed, and movements for community benefit might be promoted. To that end, the Post conducts each year in conjunction with Roanoke College Armistice Day exercises at which prominent speakers are presented to the community. Some of these speakers have been Judge John N. Tillman, Representative in Congress from the State of Arkansas; Colonel Marion S. Battle, of the United States Army, and Colonel John A. Cutchins, of Richmond. Memorial Day is observed each year in conjunction with the Confederate Veterans and the Daughters of the Confederacy by exercises in the local cemetery at which either the Post Commander presides or the Post furnishes one of the speakers. Other days sponsored by the Legion are fititngly observed. The Post has a leading part in civic movements.

During the early days of its history, the Post conducted a number of funerals of men whose bodies had been returned from France. Mr. R. S. Kime has served as Post Service Officer almost continuously since the organization of Salem Post. He has rendered efficient service to many men in difficulty. Mt. Regis Tuberculosis Sanatorium is located in Salem and there have been constantly manv ex-service men there as patients. Many of these are members of Salem Post are the Post regularly visits them and remembers them with gifts at Christmas.

Salem Post has had a club room for only one year in its history, as it was found that the money expended could be used for better purposes. Meetings are held in the county courthouse, while smokers and dinners are held at the Hotel Salem. Entertainments are, of course, conducted at various times as the state of the treasury demands. The largest membership was in the year 1920, in which year there were one hundred paid-up members. The membership this year is thirty-eight.