MERIDEN — Members and supporters of American Legion Post 45 braved the rain Saturday to celebrate the organization’s centennial anniversary.
People sat beside Hanover Pond to enjoy the food and hear stories from veterans. A military band provided music and a color guard was present for a small ceremony.
“A lot of planning (to get) a military band and color guard here,” said post member Lewis Harper. “We have a lot of help from our Ladies Auxiliary and the Sons of the American Legion. Everyone’s pitching in, it’s a total team effort.”
Post 45 also hosted a commemorative race at the nearby Silver City Quarter Midget Track and an American Legion alumni baseball game.
Meriden resident, Morgan E. Morenz, got to walk with several U.S. soldiers and participate in raising the flag. Morenz, a sketch artist with autism, raised over $1,300 for Post 45 through proceeds from selling her artwork.
“We come here first and foremost to honor and respect the veterans that have served for us, have passed and are with us still today, and their families,” said Diana Morenz, Morgan’s mother. “To a greater extent for me personally is the fact that my daughter has been given the honor of walking with the soldiers and raising the flag.”
Morenz’s mother said that the legion is special to her because they accepted her daughter “unconditionally.”
“She therefore wants to do everything she can to help them,” she said.
There was also a small ceremony honoring the history of Post 45, which was created just months after the American Legion became a federally chartered group in 1919.
Meriden City Manager Timothy Coon also attended with a proclamation declaring Sept. 14 as American Legion Post 45 Day.
“We still have to take care of our veterans and soldiers,” said Debbie Elliott, a member of the Legion Auxiliary. “We’re always fundraising for postage for deployed soldiers. Cookies, magazines, baby wipes, the little luxuries their forefathers fought for us to have.
“I have one grandson serving in Afghanistan,” she added. “Now I have 14 more because when you’re over there it’s not just about you. It’s about your whole unit.”