UPDATED CANCELED DUE TO COVID-19 - TOP STORY: Brazil American Legion post set to celebrate 100 years on Saturday
Brazil’s American Legion Post #2 holds the honor of being the second post organized in Indiana, and its members are ready to celebrate Saturday.
Event organizer Randy Kaelber said the public is invited to 10 North Depot Street for a day of celebration.
“The story goes that back in October 1919, Brazil and Connersville, which is on the other side of Indiana, went to apply become American Legion Posts. Connersville had the first state commander, which is why they are number one. Still, Brazil, who was in line to be first, and our people being such good nice people, said ‘OK, we will do that, and we will be the oldest,’” said Kaelber, who admits when members checked the story in Connersville they don’t quite recall it the same way. “But, I just checked our charter, and it’s dated October 1, 1920. So we are celebrating 100 years of serving our community this Saturday.”
At 8-10:30 a.m, Legion Auxillary members start the day by serving an all-you-can-eat breakfast for $6 per person.
At approximately 10:30 a.m. till noon or 1 p.m., Kaelber said the Legion wants to honor its longest-standing members in a ceremony (but some details are not complete).
“We have one veteran who has been a member here for 74 years,” said Kaelber about the veterans who might not live in Indiana but loyally maintained membership in Brazil. “We have six members with 60 years here, and 13 more that have 50 years.”
At 3:30 p.m., the public can participate in the unique “Horse Races” event. (A six-lane track with horses is set up, and a roll of the dice determines the winner.)
Around 5:30 p.m., Kaelber said the Legion would provide a free dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs (and chips) to the public.
“We are following the local health department guidelines for food safety during COVID-19,” he said. “People will be able to social distance while enjoying dinner here at the outside pavilion. We are hoping to have a fun day for the community.”
Around 8 p.m., the band “Free: 15” will perform, and the Auxillary will provide dessert.
“We are a service group, and our members, many who are veterans, have and are actively serving in our community,” said Kaelber, who recently became the Veterans’ Service Officer for Clay County.
Members of the American Legion provide fundraising assistance for many local organizations like the Clay County Humane Society, charitable groups, families in need during the holidays like Shop-With-A-Cop, scholarships for students, and local youth sports teams, and holiday fun like the Easter Egg Hunt at Forest Park.
“We are here to support the community and do what we can, when we can,” he said. “We try and help veterans as much as we can, we support the Boy Scouts, and this year we provided free meals to help families affected by the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
An act of Congress
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by an act of Congress in 1919. Veterans were coming home from World War I with a purpose to advocate patriotism and honor while supporting their hometown communities and promoting strong national security with a devotion to fellow servicemembers and veterans.
Kaelber said he hopes the public comes out to learn more about the American Legion, including the Sons of the American Legion, the Auxillary, and the Legion Riders.
“I think we do a lot of good things in the community. We are not going to survive as a service club without younger members,” said Kaelber about the lack of membership situation many service groups and clubs are experiencing. “If young people don’t understand, know what a service group is about, what or how we are doing, they won’t want to be a part of a service group of any kind. Future generations won’t have any of these services in the community if someone doesn’t step up now to carry on.”
Kaelber said applications for the American Legion - and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1127 - are available at the Veterans Service Office at the Clay County Courthouse.
To learn more about the American Legion, log onto legion.org or stop by the American Legion Post 2, 10 North Depot Street, Brazil, IN, during regular business hours.