As the kickoff of the national celebration of The American Legion’s 100th anniversary – at the 100th National Convention in Minneapolis in August – gets closer, Legion departments are organizing their own celebrations, and the Department of Maine has taken a spot in the forefront.

Amedeo “Deo” Lauria is head of special projects for the department. He says the official window for the Department of Maine celebration is March 15, 2018 – the Legion’s birthday – through Nov. 11, 2019. Those 20 months will include everything from acknowledgments by the governor and state legislature, to a massive Centennial parade at the June 2018 department convention, to a 100-mile Centennial Ride.

Events and open houses are planned throughout this period at department headquarters in Winslow, posts across the state, and even VAMC Togus and the Maine Veterans’ Homes.

One angle planned to get the word out about the Legion is the birthdays of the service branches. Much use will also be made of guest speakers talking about Legion and military history.

To raise funds for all these activities, the department released Centennial coins in September; 1,000 have been made, to sell at $10 each.

“We have had a couple of meetings and are moving forward to have a great Centennial in Maine,” Lauria says.