American Legion William Merritt Hallock Post 155 History
The American Legion has been thriving since early 1919 when Army Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt) led its founding. In Paris, France, after the end of First World War, he convinced the doubting General John J. Pershing that idle U.S. servicemen needed a boost in morale as their wait to return home stretched out. With Pershing's approval, Roosevelt brought soldiers together in an organized group for fellowship and service to others. The newly formed quasi-official organization gathering, self-described as an "American Legion" to the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, rapidly became popular among U.S. soldiers in Europe. When they eventually returned home, they remembered and sought to recreate the ebullience of their post-war comradeship while still overseas. Subsequently, in St. Louis in May of 1919 thousands of veterans from all over the United States held an organizing meeting to continue the association, and gave the official birth to the American Legion.
In mid May 1926, with a bit of prodding from Legionnaires in nearby communities, a group of veterans in the village of Lake Ronkonkoma decided to start their own Legion post. Meetings were held locally in various places such as, schools, fire houses & business establishments, In order to raise interest and establish a permanent home for the American Legion William Merritt Hallock Post 155, in November of 1928, the newly installed post commander Jack Millan and member Joe Kirk purchased 6 building lots on Church Street in Lake Ronkonkoma. They later sold the lots to the post, at cost, for the purpose of establishing a permanent home for the post. In December of 1928, members broke ground for the foundation of the current home of American Legion William Merritt Hallock Post 155.
One week before Memorial Day in 1929, the held their first meeting in their new constructed clubhouse. Members now had their own place and the village had a new landmark. The original structure stood alone till the addition of ground level bathroom extension on one side, a finished basement and wet bar beneath the meeting hall, and a large basement dinner-dance hall constructed behind the building in 1965.
_______, five former servicemen met in the high school auditorium. Existing at the time in __________ was an informal community consisting of former World War I Veterans. The decision to organize an American Legion Post resulted from the conclusion of these Veterans that the American Legion was the representative Veterans' organization in this country. That conclusion has been proven true as today the American Legion is the largest wartime Veterans' organization with nearly 13,000 American Legion Posts worldwide. Current national membership is over 2 million and combined with the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion, membership in what is known as The American Legion Family, exceeds 3 million who care about America, Veterans, their families and our nation's youth.
A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion William Merritt Hallock Post 155 was formed in September of 1926. The Legion has every reason to be proud of it's Auxiliary. Auxiliary members are always anxious and willing to co-operate in every Legion activity.
A Sons of the Legion for American Legion William Merritt Hallock Post 155 was formed in June/July of 1953. The Legion has every reason to be proud of it's Sons of Legion unit, which gained statewide recognition because of it's programs of service.
MEMORIAL DAY has always been an outstanding occasion in this community. In addition to memorial events throughout the Lake Ronkonkoma community, the goal of every Veteran to it's last man is to keep MEMORIAL DAY sacred to the memory of our war dead of all of the wars of the country; and all graves are decorated on this National Holiday.
ARMISTICE DAY, now called VETERANS' DAY, originally marked the end of fighting in World War I. It is an important holiday on the calendar of Legionnaires everywhere and in the hearts of all Veterans. It has been in ____. Annually the Post sponsored the Armistice Day Parade. An important tradition was established when the Post led in the memorial exercises at 11 o'clock on the morning of November 11, marking the exact hour of the cessation of hostility on the war fronts.
Registration Of Graves
Since it's inception American Legion William Merrick Hallock Post 155 has been a leader in this community in the area of graves registration; which has been incorporated by all the American Legion Posts in Suffolk County. Grave Registration enables all interested parties to locate the site of the grave of each Veteran. American Legion William Merrfitt Hallock Post acquired a burial lot in Lake Ronkonkoma Cemetery and this has been marked by the erection of a massive monument marking it as the burial lot for servicemen without kin. Each year, active members place a flag on each Veteran's grave.
Scholarships and Community Projects
American Legion William Merritt Hallock Post 155 sponsors various scholarships for the further education of our children. We also sponsor and financially assist many worthy community projects and programs initiated by the National American Legion.
Join Us and Keep this History Alive