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375 East Locust Street - , Columbia, Illinois

American Legion Post 581


 The following history of Columbia American Legion Post No. 581 was written by C. F. Weilbacher, then Post Historian, for a booklet entitled "A Brief History of Monroe County in the Great World War", and distributed with the compli­ments of the American Legion Post No. 581, Columbia.  The history which covers the years from 1920 to 1958 follows:

"Columbia Post No. 581, Ameri­can Legion was organized on March 23, 1920. The or­ganization work was conducted by Joseph McGlynn of E. St. Louis, district organizer. The first meeting, held at Post Headquarters, Turner Hall, was a decided success, twenty-four charter members being enrolled. The following officers were elected at the first meet­ing: Commander, R. C. Kunz; Vice Commander, Ira J. Mund; Adjutant, W. F. Schuck; Finance Officer, C. W. Breidecker; Chaplain, Henry Haberlah; Historian, C. F. Weilbacher; Service Officer, A. G. Klein; Employment Officer, C. L. Volkert; Athletic Officer, E. Parrott; Bugler, A. C. Metter and Sergeant-at-Arms, G. Stemler. In 1921 the same officers were re-elected. During the first year there were 56 members en­rolled, bringing the total membership to 80. The Charter members of the American Legion were: R. C. Kunz, Henry Haberlah, A. G. Klein, Albert Hof­stetter, Alpha C. Smith, Walter F. Schuck, Henry Thiele, Ira F. Mund, Mike Klohr, C. W. Breidecker, George Kut­terer, John W. Thomas, Henry D. Mehrtens, Earl G. Par­rott, Charles Steinsieck, Frank D. Buncher, August Welsch, Leo F. Kipping, Herman F. Taake and Louis Habermehl." Mr. Weilbacher, in commenting on the war efforts of Columbians says: "Columbia's success in every war activity was due to her splendid community spirit, the spirit that is the pride and design of Southern Illinois. Both individually and as a whole Columbia strove to "carry on" and succeeded as she always does when she so desires. Liberty Loans were all over-subscribed as were all the drives, and Columbia was generally the first precinct to go "Over the Top", Monroe County's Red Cross had its inception in Co­lumbia immediately after the declaration of war, en­rolling members and contributions months before Illinois was districted. Lodges, clubs, churches and individuals worked as a harmonious whole for humanity's sake, that Columbia's sons and daughters who served the colors and who were absent in the flesh, but present in the spirit, would re­main away for as brief a time as possible.  


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