100 years ago this week, the American Legion was formed.
It happened just as World War One was ending as a way to boost the morale of troops waiting in Europe to be taken home – a wait that often stretched for months.
Jim Olson takes us to Goodrich where the local Legion post is also 100 years old and celebrating by remembering local veterans.
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “If we don’t record this stuff, it’s lost. And once it’s lost, there’s no way to retrieve it.”
That’s why Karen Feickert has spent the past several years documenting the lives of military veterans with ties to Goodrich, North Dakota. She calls the book Freedom Is Not Free.
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “I just am so proud of it. This is what the American Legion is about. Right here, these men and women.”
Feickert’s research goes back to when the Goodrich Legion Post 56 – named for World War One casualty Albert Block.
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “He was 22 years old when he died and he is the charter member.”
She has the photos of hundreds of area veterans, but the story that really moved her was that of a man close to her – her father-in-law.
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “I thought I knew the man and then we found a diary of his of just one month when he was in Biak Island. It’s a month on Biak Island by Alfred Feickert.”
There are so many stories, from so many wars
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “In 1921 the WW1 members were given victory medals. This is the summer of 1921.”
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “This is WW2. It’s Harold Jenner. These were the medals presented to him. And this is the girl who waited for him.”
They’re all being remembered as the American Legion – and the post in this small town – turn 100 years old.
(Roger Tessmann, Goodrich American Legion Commander) “We’re honoring the men from way back to the Civil War, from when the United States was born.”
Post Commander Roger Tessmann served in Viet Nam – even has a custom vest commemorating his service. He and Karen Feickert say they’re doing the best they can to keep the spirit of the American Legion alive.
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “For a small community like us, we’re really hanging on.”
Hanging on – and reminding us all of what’s been sacrificed.
(Karen Feickert, Goodrich American Legion) “It’s so true, freedom is not free.”
In Goodrich, Jim Olson, KX News.
The Goodrich American Legion post held a special 100th birthday party last night.