By Jimmie Ferguson
Killeen Daily Herald
Several veterans and veterans organizations Friday joined the American Legion J.Q. Adams Post 223 of Killeen in celebrating the American Legions 86th birthday.
This ceremony is dedicated to all veterans the past, the present and the future who cherish this country and are willing to sacrifice their lives for our freedom, said Thomas R. Fisher, the local posts commander, as he kicked off the patriotic ceremony at the post at 208 S. Park St.
Killeen Mayor Maureen Jouett paid tribute to the American veterans and expressed her appreciation to T-Mobile USA Inc. for erecting a 100-foot tower at the American Legion that is also used as a flagpole.
The freedom of Amer-icas citizenship is ours because of the dedication of our military, Jouett said. They are the gift that keeps on giving. We will never forget their support of the community and the sacrifices that they made so that the freedom of American citizenship will be ours.
The American Legion was founded March 15, 1919, in Paris at the first caucus by members of the American Expeditionary Force, said Fisher, a retired Army first sergeant.
The organization officially adopted the name, The American Legion on May 9, 1919, at a caucus meeting in St. Louis, Mo. The Legions draft constitution was approved May 9, 1919, and so was its preamble which begins, For God and Country, we associate ourselves together ... The preamble with its heartfelt dedication to freedom and democracy is still recited today at official gatherings of the American Legion, Fisher said.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help, wartime veterans organization. Its also a community-service organization that now numbers nearly 3 million members men and women in nearly 15,000 American Legion posts worldwide. These posts are organized into 55 departments, one each for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and The Philippines.
The American Legions national headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Ind., with additional offices in Washington, D.C. In addition to thousands of volunteers serving in leadership and program implementation capacities in local communities to the Legions standing national commissions and committees, the national organization has a regular full-time staff of about 300 employees.
The J.Q. Adams Post 223 was chartered May 27, 1920. It was named after J.Q. Adams, a Killeen native, who was killed one day after the end of World War I.
He was on the front lines, and word of the armistice had not reached his unit at the time of his death, Fisher said.
As an appreciation of T-Mobiles gift, Jouett presented its two representatives, Rich Steinbrink, the project manager; and Alyce Krekel, the zoning administrator, each with a city of Killeen coin.
The flagpole/communication tower was erected a month and a half ago. Its a mono-pole tower stealth with cylinder on the top that contains the antennas, Stein-brink said.
Killeen City Councilman Dan Corbin, the posts judge advocate and the ceremonys master of ceremonies, also expressed his appreciation to T-Mobile.
Not only for giving us a wonderful gift, but allowing us to receive payment every month for allowing this to be here, Corbin said.
The ceremony was concluded with the sounds of Retreat and To The Colors, as the flags were lowered from the pole for the day, performed by the Multi-Ethnic Cultural Arts Association.
Contact Jimmie Ferguson at firstname.lastname@example.org