American Legion, ROCKBRIDGE POST NO. 95 — 1924
American Legion, 1924
Charter was issued February 16, 1920. An organization was accomplished Memorial Day, May 30, 1920, with Greenlee D. Letcher, commander, and Kent H. McCoy, adjutant, who held office until May 30, 1921, when they were succeeded by William McKeevor, commander, and K. H. McCoy, adjutant, who held office to January 1, 1923. For the year 1923, C. R. Metz was commander and M. L. Wilson, adjutant, and for 1924, Eugene W. Bare, commander, and M. L. Wilson, adjutant.
Prior to the organization of the Legion Post, the service men of Rockbridge had formed an organization known as the Service Men of Rockbridge County, with Captain E. L. Graham and M. W. Paxton, adjutant.
The first notable occasion under the auspices of the Post was the parade far General J. J. Pershing, June 18, 1920, when a parade, headed by General Pershing and his aide, Colonel George Marshall, and the Legion commander, Captain Greenlee D. Letcher, from the tomb of General Robert E. Lee to the grave of Stonewall Jackson, through the streets of Lexington, before an immense crowd and in which the Corps of Cadets of the Virginia Military Institute and various civic organizations tools part. Few Posts in the United States have ever been so privileged and honored. A picture taken at the monument of Stonewall Jackson in the Lexington Cemetery is shown. General Pershing placed a wreath an each monument-tributes to greatness, and strikingly signifying a united country. A mast wonderful occasion under the auspices of the Post was the funeral of the first returned soldier from France, Sergeant F. A. Plogger, on April 3, 1921, who was of Company “F,” Eighteenth Infantry, and killed at and buried at New Monmouth in Rockbridge County. The parade from the Presbyterian Church to the corporate limits was headed by the Post, and the service men with Major General F. W. Nichols and Brigadier General John S. Mallory (Commander of Camps Lee and Dix) leading, and the service men being under the command of Captain E. L. Graham, cited for gallantry at Ballcottrt, France, September 30, 1918. All arms of the service were in the parade, composed of United States regulars stationed at Virginia Military Institute, and the Virginia Military Institute Corps of Cadets, Infantry, Cavalry and Field Artillery, Confederate Veterans, Knights Templar and Civic Organizations, the body being carried on a caisson drawn by six horses, and witnessed by one of the greatest out pourings of the people ever seen here. The picture of the Post Firing Squad is a part of this article. In addition to this funeral, fifteen other funerals (one double of Sellers brothers, first lieutenants) have been conducted or participated in by this Post. And it has been figured that the Post has traveled in this work of honor and love 311 miles, furnishing flowers, pallbearers and a firing squad and bugler with an average attendance of eighty service men.
Colonel Junius F. Lynch, our State Commander, was received and entertained by the Post. Comrade Hollinger, known as the “Billy Sunday of Service Men,” was received and entertained by the Post, a public speaking being held and refreshments served.
Perhaps one of the most distinguished honors was the visit of National Commander Alvin Owsley, March 3, 1923, when escorted by the Post, he laid wreaths upon the graves of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, and afterwards with the escort of the Post, reviewed the battalion of V. M. I. Cadets, having made an address to a large and popular gathering in the Doremus Gymnasium at Washington and Lee and was the recipient of much social attention. He was accompanied by Vice-State Commander, Captain Gunyan Harrison. And a dinner was tendered and served for 300 by our splendid Auxiliary.
The activities of this Post have been varied and numerous. The parades in Lexington on Memorial Days are tinder the command and in charge of a chief marshal from the Post, and the graves of the service men all over the county are decorated under the care and direction of the Post. Sick service men receive the personal care of the Post and its committees which has embraced the furnishing of food, clothing, books, money, tents, etc., with visits and social attention.
Patriotic lectures with moving pictures have been given by the Post. And patriotic Fourth of July celebrations.
Road building has been assisted in as a Post activity.
Funds for the Stonewall Jackson Hospital have been raised.
The Post had a conspicuous place in the very interesting unveiling of the monument to Commodore Matthew Fontaine Maury in Goshen Pass on the 9th of June, 1923, a picture of which will be given with this article if it can be secured.
A committee has, in charge and has made progress in the erection of a memorial to our dead, which it is hoped will be successfully culminated in a reasonable time.
The Post has furnished an executive committeeman for this district in the person of Captain W. W. Ackerly, and Captain Greenlee D. Letcher has from this Post attended two conventions, being an official delegate to the San Francisco convention, and he was also appointed by Governor Trinkle of Virginia on the Memorial Committee, and originated and pushed the plan adopted at the Fredericksburg convention for a non-utilitarian monument to be erected at Richmond, subsequently adopted by the Legislature.
A splendid and enthusiastic Auxiliary is in existence and has added much to the benefit and life of the Post. They have generously and delightfully treated not only service men, but also Confederate veterans to dinners on Memorial Days and other occasions and staged entertainments of various kinds and deserve and receive the gratitude of the Post.