NEWTOWN >> American Legion Post 440 will celebrate its 100th anniversary and installation of officers with a dinner on Sunday, Sept. 19 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Rafters, 101 Friends Lane, Newtown.
The post officially turned 100 on August 1, 2020, but was unable to celebrate due to the pandemic. It postponed the celebration until this year.
Following the end of World War I, while remnants of U.S. troops were still in France, war veterans got together and organized the Newtown American Legion Post in March 1919.
No doubt inspired by the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), which was an organization formed specifically for veterans of the Civil War, the American Legion was formed for the veterans of the First World War. It has since expanded membership to include all veterans with an honorable discharge.
The GAR in Newtown was organized under Post 427, named after Pvt. Thomas Henry Wynkoop, a native son of Newtown who was killed in 1862 on the gunboat, the USS Mound City, during the Peninsula Campaign. He is buried in the Newtown Cemetery just east of the chapel. The GAR doesn’t exist anymore; when the last Civil War vet passed away, so did the GAR.
In December 1919, Dr. G.A. Parker Jr, and Morris Savage of Newtown requested a charter for an American Legion Post in Newtown to be named in honor of Morell Smith, also a native son of Newtown, who was killed in action on October 18, 1918, in the Bois de Loges, France. From then on, the Morell Smith American Legion Post 440 became an important part of the fabric of Newtown.
The Post 440 Charter hangs proudly beside the original charter of GAR Post 427. While the American Legion would love to see the end of all wars and conflicts, its members know that will never happen, so the need for an organization to safeguard the well-being and interests of veterans will always be there.
Today, the Post supports three baseball teams, Boy Scout Troop 99, and the Veterans Club of Council Rock High School North. They also participate in Memorial Day and Veterans Day observances with Council Rock North and its members also participate with Council Rock South, the Goodnoe Elementary School and other local schools, interacting with the students. Annually, the Post present 12 awards to students at local schools for their scholastic accomplishments. Local students are also sponsored for Keystone Boys State and the American Legion Oratorical and Essay Contests.
Post 440's Color Guard leads the annual Newtown Christmas Parade and the Post organizes and runs the annual Memorial Day Parade (this year being the exception due to the pandemic).
Post 440 members are involved with the Guardians of the National Cemetery at Washington Crossing and provide military honors for veterans at other local cemeteries when requested.
The Post is always ready to welcome new members; the only requirement is an honorable discharge. The Post exists to assist fellow veterans of all branches. The Legion is not about sitting around swapping war stories as many people believe. Post members are fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers of many in Newtown and the surrounding area. And they gladly welcome mothers, grandmothers and daughters to membership meetings under the same membership requirements as the men.
Post members discuss how to assist veterans at every meeting. Most discuss family, children and grandchildren and other shared interests.
For information about attending the anniversary celebration, contact Mike Errico at email@example.com or call 267-690.7266. Additional information is listed on the Post's website - www.newtownpost440.org.