At the turn of the 20th century, Park City citizens relied on a full slate of fraternal organizations to hold the community together, in good times and bad. The Elks, the Odd Fellows, the Woodmen of the World and the American Legion organized celebrations, raised money for kids and civic projects, and provided support for a variety of charitable causes. But many of their memberships waned as members grew older.
This week, though, one of those venerable organizations is making a move to regroup and regenerate. Park City Post 14 of the American Legion is looking for new recruits to fill its ranks and to recommit itself to serving the community and, importantly, returning local veterans.
There was a time when the term "veteran" conjured images of senior citizens wearing badges of honor from wars long past. But that image is changing. Like many communities around the country, new waves of veterans are returning to Park City from conflicts in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. They could use a warm welcome from their counterparts who fought in Vietnam, Korea, Europe and the Pacific.
Unfortunately, in recent years, Park City's Legion Post membership dwindled. Then, last year, spirits were further dampened when a member stole some of the group's funds that had been set aside to offer college scholarships and support the Civil Air Patrol. However, instead of disbanding, this group of wartime vets has decided to retake the hill.
Just in time for Memorial Day, current members are planning to hold a strategy session in hopes of attracting new members and setting an agenda aimed at fulfilling the nearly 100-year-old organization's original commitment "to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans."
Park City's American Legion Post 14 will hold an organizational meeting Saturday, May 19, at 10 a.m. at the Park City Library in room 201. All local veterans are encouraged to attend and to help define new ways the organization can support fellow vets and the community at large.
This Memorial Day, we are looking forward to taking our marching orders from Park City's newly reorganized American Legion.