By SHERRY DIGMON
Billy Glenn Rushing American Legion Post 90 held a two-fold ceremony Thursday, September 12. Members and guests recognized the National Legion for 100 years and the Atmore Legion Post for 96 years.
Post 90 Commander Billy Elder introduced distinguished guests – Ala. Rep. Alan Baker, Mayor Jim Staff, Ala. Department Commander Ron Bradstreet, Legion Auxiliary President Trish Montgomery, and District 34 Commander Larry Meeks.
The Northview High School JROTC presented the colors and the Escambia County High School Chorus, under the direction of Conrad Weber, sang the National Anthem.
Mayor Staff read the American Legion Centennial Day City Proclamation:
WHEREAS, the American Legion, has been a staunch advocate for veterans and their families since 1919; and,
WHEREAS, the American Legion was founded on the four pillars of care for veterans, a strong national defense, Americanism, and children and youth; and,
WHEREAS, the American Legion has played a leading role in initiatives and breakthroughs that have affected the lives of Americans in every community, from U.S. Flag Code to the GI Bill; and,
WHEREAS, Post 90, the Billy Glenn Rushing Post, has fulfilled the Legion’s mission since 1923 through programs such as Boys and Girls State youth in government, Oratorical contest, and Legion Riders; and,
WHEREAS, the American Legion is celebrating its centennial in 2018-2019.
NOW, THEREFORE, I Jim Staff, Mayor of the City of Atmore, County of Escambia, State of Alabama, by virtue of the authority vested in me under the Municipal laws of the State of Alabama, do hereby proclaim September 12th, 2019 as “American Legion Centennial Day.”
The late Haskew Middleton was honored for his 75 years of continuous membership in Post 90. His son Bob Middleton accepted a framed certificate on his behalf.
Post 90 Chaplain Jack Wright was recognized for 63 years continuous membership.
Trish Montgomery addressed the gathering and talked about focusing on the Department working together as a family. To exist the next 100 years, the Legion needs to recruit, she said.
Her comments were cut short by a sudden rain shower. Those under covered seating remained in place but members of the ECHS chorus and several others scrambled for cover.
When the ceremony resumed, the chorus sang America the Beautiful and If You’re Reading This.
Ron Bradstreet spoke about 9-11. “At the dinner table that night, we held hands and cried like babies,” he said. “This was an attack on the essence of our country … They don’t like the fact that we’re free … That’s where the American Legion comes in, taking care of our veterans, our families, our young people. That’s what the American Legion is about every day.”
A cake cutting ceremony followed with Middleton and Wright doing the honors of cutting the cake together.
Chaplain Wright was emotional as he said the closing prayer, remembering his own brother who was killed in war.
“God, you are everything to us,” he prayed. “We will never forget those who have given the ultimate sacrifice … Those soldiers who helped make our country as strong as it is today.”
Everyone was invited to stay for hot dogs and hamburgers and enjoy music by Retro in the Legion hall.