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POST 202 HISTORY - ARTICLE - The Birth of Post 202

The American Legion had its beginning in Paris, France March 16, 1919. The national organization was formulated at a meeting that convened in St. Louis May 8, 1919. Delegates from nearly every state in the nation answered the roll call. The preamble, as we know it today, was put into final form at that gathering.

News article from unknown Columbia paper:

“COLUMBIA MEN WANT LEGION – Fifteen members of the County’s Only Volunteer Organization Ask For Charter – The following fifteen men who served during the World War and at some time belonged to Co. F. 139th, the only unit that was originally made up entirely of volunteers from Boone County, have put in an application for a charter for a Post of the American Legion. The Post is to be named after Herbert Williams, a member of Co. F who was killed in action while rushing a machine gun nest at Exermont. Giltner R. Ingles, Beverley R. Bell, John F. Calvert, Virgil Cole, F. Lewis Douglas, Conley Fay, John Hickam, Harold Hulen, As-bury Roberts, George Klinkerfuss, W. W. Payne, Stewart Reeder, Floyd Roberts, J. Sidney Rollins and John J. Waters.”

The application was submitted in November of 1919 and the Post 202 Charter that hangs in the Memorial Room was issued 96 years ago on August 20, 1920. Initially, J. Sidney Rollins was the Provisional Chairman and when the Charter was received Giltner Ingles was elected as Post 202’s first Commander.

In History of American Legion, Herbert Williams Post No 202 by Historian Buell B. Cramer the following is written: “Giltner Ingles, a most energetic man, had worked hard with provisional chairman, J. Sidney Rol-lins and others whose names have been previously mentioned, was elected in 1920 to serve as the first Post Commander. The war to end all wars was over. Unlimited years of peace were anticipated. …… The phrase “returning to normalcy” was popular during Senator Harding’s campaign for the Presidency of the United States.

In Herbert Williams’ Post, as in many other Posts throughout the country, there was much ill feeling to-wards persons, who in some manner or other had avoided military service. This matter was brought up from time to time at almost every meeting of the Post. The terms “slacker”, and “draft dodger” were stinging words.

Herbert Williams’ Post No. 202 during the early years of its life did not have a permanent home. Most of its meetings were held in a large vacant room above the old Central Bank Building. Post Commander Ingles often spoke about an American Legion Memorial Building. This idea did not materialize until many years later. Commander Ingles and his staff were most concerned about disabled veterans. Our country was un-prepared for the job of rehabilitating disabled servicemen.”

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3669 Legion Lane
Columbia, MO 65201

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