American Legion Post 72 celebrated its 100th anniversary last week, with a banquet on Wednesday night, a parade and celebration at the post on Saturday and a musical tribute to the soldiers who served in “The Great War” and a re-enactor who portrayed a nurse who treated the wounded.
Speakers at the banquet on Wednesday, Oct. 16 included Dr. Mark D. Isaacs, pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of Wurtemburg in Rhinebeck and adjunct professor of economics at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park; and Bill Payne, the Post 72 historian. Guests of honor were retired U.S. Army Col. Roger H.C. Donlon, the first solider in the Vietnam War to earn the Congressional Medal of Honor. Music was provided by the Woodstock Brass Quintet.
A parade on Saturday, Oct. 19 featured Donlon on the reviewing stand with Legionnaires leading firefighters and local organizations in a parade. The Saugerties Community Band played on a float in the parade, with a sign honoring the memory of the band’s former leader, Tony Mitzel, an Army veteran.
The parade was followed by a cookout at the legion post. Food was provided by Adams Fairacre Farms, Smokehouse of the Catskills and Deising’s Bakery, with equipment, cooking and labor provided by John Livermore of Stone Pony. The 77th Regimental Balladeers and the Paul Luke Band performed at the post.
An open house at the post featured music by the Veterans in a New Field and a dramatic performance by re-enactor Maxine Getty in the role of Major Julia Stimson, a nurse in World War I. Getty wore an Army uniform for this performance, a contrast to the nurse’s uniform she had worn the previous day. Army nurses dressed to blend in with the Red Cross nurses to avoid making them targets, she explained.
The ceremony Sunday also included presentations honoring the post. Town Supervisor Fred Costello Jr. and Village Mayor Bill Murphy presented a certificate on behalf of the Saugerties municipalities. The proclamation notes that the post was established in 1919, shortly after the end of World War I, and that it is one of more than 15,000 American Legion posts with nearly 3 million members, the proclamation states. It gives the date, July 8, 1919, for the establishment of the Lamouree-Hackett Post.
County Legislator Dean Fabiano read a proclamation from the Ulster County Legislature, signed by Legislature Chair Tracey Bartels. Fabiano said, before reading the proclamation, that he has read many such proclamations, but “this is a special one, and I’ll tell you why. I’m a life member of the Sons of the American Legion; my dad, may he rest in peace, was a member of the Saugerties American Legion. I was very impressed with this post and how professional they were, how well organized they were … I would match this post to any one anywhere in the Hudson Valley.”
The proclamation from the county Legislature describes the post as “a dedicated member of the Town of Saugerties community, and whereas the hard working members of Post 72 regularly partner with local government and other community groups to ensure that veterans are represented and recognized during Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veterans Day and other community celebrations … now, therefore I, Tracey Bartels, Chairman of the Ulster County Legislature, do hereby direct this honorable body to pause in its deliberations to congratulate and recognize an extraordinary organization and hereby present this plaque to commemorate and celebrate Lamouree-Hackett American Legion Post 72’s 100th anniversary, 1919 to 2019.”
Congressman Antonio Delgado was not able to attend the ceremony, but a deputy, Elizabeth Buono, read a proclamation from him. The Congressman recognized the role of the post in the life of the community and congratulated it. She presented the post with a United States flag that had flown over the Capitol.
Donlon closed the event with a “thank you” to the post. He recognized “the generations that preceded us and prepared us to shoulder the burdens of our lifetime, and it is our turn now to prepare the next generation to shoulder the burdens of their lifetime. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do; and may God bless and protect all of you.”