Coming Home: American Legion Centennial
The final battles of World War I were hard-fought and bloody. Their legacy was felt beyond Europe and into communities across the world including Ilwaco and the Long Beach Peninsula. One of the largest battles to end the war was the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, fought from September 26, 1918 until the Armistice of November 11, 1918, a total of 47 days. Ilwaco resident, Don R. Grable was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Argonne. He was the only resident of the Long Beach Peninsula to die in WWI. After the Armistice, celebrations were held to mark the end of the Great War and soldiers returned to the United States to restart their lives. They were bonded by their service but there were few opportunities for them to share their experiences. Early in 1919 a group of officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) proposed an organization to help improve troop morale and their transition back to civilian life. An organizational meeting took place in Paris in March 1919. From this the American Legion was formed. The American Legion is a patriotic veteran’s organization chartered by Congress in 1919. Its focus is service to veterans, service members and communities. When a group of Long Beach Peninsula World War I veterans got together to form Legion Post #48, there could be only one name for it - Don R. Grable. The Post was chartered October 2, 1919, with 15 charter members. Currently there are approximately 100 members of the Post, and 30 members of the Auxiliary. Coming Home: WWI and the American Legion Centennial shares the stories of those who served and returned to the Long Beach Peninsula. The exhibition will explore the lives and past-times of the returning veterans and the organizations that were formed to help them reintegrate with their community. This special exhibition opens on Saturday May 18, 2019 with an Armed Forces Day celebration organized by the Don R. Grable Post #48, Ilwaco, WA. The exhibition will be on view until July 6, 2019.