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Al Heidenreich's NH Veterans' Views: An early 100th birthday party for the Legion

June 20. 2018 10:22PM

Happy almost 100th birthday, American Legion!

OK, math majors, to be correct, that would be 99. Are we jumping the gun? Well, yes and no (how’s that for a direct answer?). Here is the skinny on this topic.

Yes, The American Legion, the country’s largest veterans’ organization, will be 100 years old on March 15, 2019; however, did you know that many posts throughout the nation are getting a headstart on the celebrations by holding 99-year events?

Among the New Hampshire posts that qualify as New Hampshire’s original and therefore oldest posts, are Wilkins-Smith Post 1, Laconia; Henry J. Sweeney Post 2, Manchester; James E. Coffey Post 3, Nashua; and Gordon-Bissell Post 4, Keene.

Fast forward to July 1, 2018: Henry J. Sweeney Post 2 in Manchester is holding a 99th birthday anniversary celebration to remember. The event is spearheaded by Mike Lopez (who else?) and you are all invited, including current military personnel, veterans of any and all organizations, and the general public of course. Admission is free and plenty of parking is available at the 251 Maple St. location. This extravaganza starts at noon on Sunday, July 1, and is continuous to 6 p.m., rain or shine, inside and/or out, and features live music provided by 3 — count ’em, 3 — local bands: 1) The Stuck in Time Band, 2) The Watts Up Band, and 3) Bend the Ride. A variety of food and beverages will be offered, as well as a 50/50 raffle and gift basket raffles. It promises to be a full day of enjoyment, and the best part of all is that the proceeds will benefit the Veterans Heritage Learning Center at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery in Boscawen. Don’t miss it!

Look around if you are in downtown Manchester on this first day of summer today and take notice of the large number of American Legionnaires, Ladies’ Auxiliary members and Sons of the American Legion visiting the Queen City, which is hosting the annual state convention through Sunday. Say hello and welcome. I guarantee it will be much appreciated.

Did you know that Friday (June 22) is “Pledge of Allegiance Recognition Day?” Now you do and we plan a full coverage column at a later date, perhaps during the school year.

Monday, June 25, is the unhappy anniversary of the start of the United States’ longest war (the Korean War) — 68 years and counting. I don’t see the end soon either but hope springs eternal.

July 2 marks the birth of the U.S. Army Air Corps; happy birthday to those few Army Air Corps veterans still with us (1926-1947).

The holiday is “Independence Day,” not the “4th of July”!

Al Heidenreich is past commander of Henry J. Sweeney American Legion Post 2. Write to Al with your questions and comments at


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