The new year was begun on September 10, 1936 by installation ceremonies at the Woodridge Golf Club south of Lisle, Illinois. The installing officer was Past District Commander Otis Cushing of Hinsdale. The new officers would serve until August 31,1937
The speaker was Paul Armstrong, past Department of Illinois commander. He said "It was said after the passing of the Bonus Bill that the American Legion would disintegrate, as it had no further programs for it's members. This was one of the most glaring untruths ever told about this organization and there have been many. The Legion program will never cease to hold interest of the great majority of the ex-servicemen of this country for it is not, primarily, for the ex-serviceman. The program is for the betterment of all the people of the country with special and ever present interest in the younger generations."
He went on to tell of what the American Legion had been doing and is prepared to do for the youth of this country through various means. He illustrated his meaning by pointing out what this local Post had been doing in this regard through the years with it's "Youth week Program".
After eleven years as tenant and guest of The Masonic Fraternity, the Post moved to it's new quarters in the old Avery Coonley Kindergarten on Grove Street. The Legion is taking over the control of the Avery Coonley School which has been known as the Community Center for the past year. It is the object of the Post to eventually have the Village take over the building and grounds as a real Community Center. The Legion, Auxiliary and Juniors are now using the building. The Post has not purchased the building, but is working toward the Village purchasing the property. The ex-servicemen have merely taken control and management of the school, thus bringing to fruition an aim which has been in the minds of forward looking Legionaires for the future of Downers Grove.
Legion programs were carried out as usual. On Saturday, December 19th the Auxiliary entertained the Post with cards and dancing. The Auxiliary presented the Legion with a complete table service emblazoned with the Legion emblem.
The Christmas season was more bright for the community as a whole than any since 1928. Nineteen baskets were distributed by the Post. The Auxiliary, as usual, furnished cigarettes for the veterans in hospitals.
Youth Week, achievement exhibits were aligned in eleven divisions each for the school groups, with as many as 21 groups in each division. To a great extent the success of Youth Week is due to Chairman Al Walter and Adam Zoucha. Youth Week came to an end when the elected state officers visited Springfield. This was the fifth straight year that the children of Downers Grove have been given the opportunity to participate in this program. From the staging of the annual Youth Week Parade on Saturday afternoon to the trip to Springfield, the program was faithfully carried out. Hundreds and hundreds of boys and girls from the lower grades through high school had some part in the activities.
The high school boys and girls who had been elected state officials visited the capital. They were introduced by Mrs. Lottir Holman O'Neill, representative of this district and by Richard Barr, Senator from the 41st district.
Those in the party were:
Governor ...Dale Hewitt Lieutenant Governor ... Earnest Langebahn
Attorney General ... Joanne Hill Secretary of State ... Margaret Dadds
State Treasurer ... Charles Kailer Auditor ... David Jenkins
Superintendent of Public Instruction ... Betty Jean Anderson
Senator ... Jerry Thompson Representative ... Joan Staats
The parade was again a colorful affair with boys and girls for the most part costumed in some manner. Prizes for the best costumes went to those in the opinion of the judges, best represented some hero or heroine of American History.
Tradition, hallowed by more than 60 years was followed by the American Legion here in the obervance of memorial Day. This tradition had been established by The Grand Army of the Republic Post of Downers Grove and when the last members of the G. A. R. were alive they pledged the younger vets to carry on in the future. This promise was asked and given and has been faithfully carried out. Services in the six outlying cemeteries under the jurisdiction of the local Legion were carried out in the morning. These were at Cass, Lace, St. Bernards, West Side, Blodgett's and Butterfield Park Cemeteries. At each the Memorial Prayer was read and three volleys fired and taps sounded.
It seems to be a well established custom for the Lion's Club to sponsor the Independence Day Parade and for the Legion to take over the activities after the parade and to continue the festivities for another week with the annual carnival. This year was no exception. The townsfolk supported the parade, fireworks and carnival. From a financial standpoint the carnival was a marked success. The carnival drawing allotted first prize, an Oldsmobile sedan to a local resident, Mrs. Ruth Miller.
The nominating committee selected Leslie L.Meyer for Post Commander and also nominated McCollum for County Commander.
This is the end of Morris E. Stevenson's history report of Post 80. The following chapters are from the writings of Thomas J. Lanagan who was commander in 1947. Lanagan's notes and writings are not as detailed as Stevenson's. I have added to his history from the volumes of annual reports on file at Post 80.