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American Legion marks a century in city, nation

Brookhaven’s American Legion post has turned 100 years old.

Legion members hosted a centennial celebration at the Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizen Center Thursday. John Edwards Post 12 was founded in 1919.

“This is the anniversary of our post that was founded 100 years ago,” Post Commander Keith Reeves said.

The post was founded by 15 men — George Hoskins, L.P. Oberschmidt, Eugene Montgomery, W.C. Williams, Joseph West Jr., Perry A. Coker, I.L. Parsons, B.H. Storm, T.E. Coker, C.T. Montgomery, Delbitt W. Love, O.N. Arrington, N.A. McLeod, Aubrey Magee and N.B. Fisher.

The celebration featured guest speaker Pat Baughman Sr. Baughman was a department commander for the American Legion. He joined the Air Force in 1967 and then served in the Mississippi Air National Guard for 35 years before retiring in 2002.

He spoke about the history of the American Legion and how the organization has not only lobbied for improvement regarding veteran’s affairs, but they’ve also sparked change for everyday citizens as well. The American Legion’s posts serve their communities.

“They have built a legacy like no other in the United States,” Baughman said.

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 to serve as a patriotic veterans’ organization that focuses on service to veterans, service members and communities. It has evolved from a group of World War I veterans to a major veterans’ organization in the United States.

Now international membership stands at nearly 2 million, with more than 13,000 posts worldwide. There are posts in all 50 states of the United States, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.

The American Legion backs several efforts to benefit those around them. Post 12 sponsors local delegates to attend Boys State, a program that teaches young men the functions of different levels of government. Post 12 also coordinates volunteers who place American flags on veterans’ graves for Memorial Day and Veterans Day.

“We’re a positive influence in the community,” Reeves said.

Reeves said Post 12 is always looking for more veterans to join the organization.

“We’re here to help veterans in any possible way we can,” Reeves said.

Any veteran interested in joining the American Legion can contact Reeves at 601-835-8173.

Story by Gracie Byrne