Now you might pause and ask – – is an American Legion really a tourism entity? Well – yes! Many American Legions have facilities that people can rent for events and gatherings that “bring out-of-county visitors” for a “destination experience” in Hancock County. However, more importantly many American Legions host several events that can incorporate groups from across the state; have fundraisers that draw people from many out-of-county locations; and create several patriotic or veteran related experiences – which are valuable to folks of all ages.
The idea for an American Legion began when Theodore Roosevelt Jr., and other line officers of World War I met in Paris in February 1919, to consider the postwar needs of veterans, the state of U.S. democracy, and the plight of children who lost parents to the war. The American Legion was officially formed on March 15, 1919, in Paris, France, by a thousand officers and men of the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.), and it was chartered on September 16, 1919, by the United States Congress.
Over the years, the American Legion has evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. The focus of the American Legion is on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities. Today, American Legion membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The National Headquarters for the American Legion is located in Indianapolis on the American Legion Mall.
In Greenfield, it didn’t take long for an American Legion Post to be created here. On October 9, 1919, fifteen ex-servicemen from World War I met in the Farmer’s Room in the Hancock County Courthouse in order to establish an American Legion Post. This would eventually become the Dale E. Kuhn American Legion Post 119.
Over the years, the American Legion Post 119 has held their meetings in a variety of locations. At one time, they had their own facility. However, today they meet in different locations – currently their meetings are held at the Grace Banquet Hall.
Their community service projects have included nursing home visits to veterans, wreaths on the graves of veterans, assisting at the Riley Festival with the parade of flowers, restoration of veteran grave markers, honor guard presentations and flag education for kids. One thing they are very passionate about is flag education and the proper disposal of American flags.
American flags are not supposed to be thrown in the trash, but ceremoniously burned. Greenfield’s American Legion Post, along with Greenfield’s VFW post and the 40 & 8, gather together to respectfully and with honor – burn American flags that are no longer suitable for service. The flag burning ceremony is quite impressive with a general inspection of a flag, and then a whole host of flags are set ablaze as a lone bugler plays taps.
Anyone who has an American flag that needs to be ceremoniously burned can turn their worn or tattered flag into several locations for the proper disposal. The Hancock County Annex, the VFW and the Hancock County Tourism and Visitor Center – all have flag collection bins for the proper disposal of flags.
This year, the annual flag burning ceremony will be at the 40 & 8’s La Place on September 9, 2023.
It should be noted that in 2009, Greenfield’s American Legion adopted the name “Dale E. Kuhn” in honor of a past Legion member.
Dale E. Kuhn (1921 – 2009) was a lifelong Hancock County resident. He graduated from Mt. Comfort High School, and shortly after graduation, he joined the US Army where he was involved in radio communications. Upon his return to Hancock County Mr. Kuhn became heavily involved in veteran’s groups and organizations. He was a member of the Hancock County Voiture 1415, Post 100 AmVets, American Legion Post 119, and the Elks Club of Greenfield. He was the Hancock County Veterans Service Officer for 15 years, State Commander of Indiana American Legion from 1970-1971, and former Chairman for the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Home in Knightstown. Dale E. Kuhn is buried in Park Cemetery in Greenfield.
The Dale E. Kuhn American Legion Post 119 also hosts some public events – these include a Memorial Day program at Park Cemetery, a fundraiser golf outing, a community breakfast, the Hometown Hero Event and the 4 Post 400 Bed Race (more about that event below).
They also support events and other activities that are held by some of Hancock County’s other veteran organizations – such as the 40 & 8 and the VFW. They also support other nearby posts with their events and programs.
Anyone interested in getting involved with Greenfield’s American Legion, should reach out to a Legion member or contact them through their Facebook page.
THE AMERICAN LEGION IS LOOKING FOR BED RACE TEAMS!!
Who will be the fastest? And hold the title of the winner of the 4 Post 400??
What is a bed race??
A bed on wheels is pushed down a course. There are four pushers and one rider. Here is the cool thing – – you only need to come up with a team – the Legion provides the beds. There is also a competition for the best team look and bed theme.
A team of five cost $50 to enter. Two beds race against each other in a double elimination until a winner is found. This year’s 4 Post 400 will be at the Hancock County Fairgrounds on Saturday, September 16, 2023 from 11am to 3pm. In addition to the race there will be food trucks, a cornhole tournament and a variety of vendors. All proceeds go to support veteran programs.
–Brigette Cook Jones, Executive Director, Hancock County Tourism and Visitor Center
- Dale E. Kuhn American Legion Post 119 Facebook page.
- National American Legion website.
- Daily Reporter Newspaper, Greenfield, IN
To stay up to date on everything in Hancock County, be sure you are receiving Hancock County Tourism’s weekly e-newsletter. You can register on the website at www.visitinhancock.org