By Sarah Wibell
Morgan County’s very own American Legion Calvin George Post 37 celebrated their 100th anniversary with a county proclamation and state resolution presented at their meeting on April 29.
Post 37 was chartered on September 19, 1919, and named for Calvin George, who grew up in Madison and died overseas during World War I. Born on December 24, 1890, in Macon, Calvin’s father Emerson George graduated from Mercer University in 1884 and received a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1892. U.S. censuses show that by 1900, the George family was living in Madison with Emerson actively practicing law. Calvin went on to graduate from the University of Georgia in 1914 and went into the military in July 1917. He trained at Fort McPherson in Atlanta before being called into active service as a 2nd Lieutenant on August 15 of that year ( HYPERLINK “http://servicememorial.libs.uga.edu/” servicememorial.libs.uga.edu). Calvin’s military service card shows that he was married to Mary Cobb and that they lived in Atlanta. Calvin was assigned to the 26th Infantry until June 8, 1918, and then served in the 28th Infantry where he was killed in action on July 18, 1918, on the first of the five-day Battle of Soissons in France (www.worldwar1centennial.org).
Since that time, generations of veterans in Post 37 have worked to aid and improve the community in various ways. Ever wondered why the football field at the high school was called “Legion Field”? In 1948, the community wanted to create a football field. The American Legion stepped in and not only graded the ground but also covered the cost of lights, bought a bus, and paid the coach’s salary, according to NeSmith. In recent years, they have provided the collection container outside of the Madison Fire Department for worn-out American flags, collaborated with the Veterans of Foreign Wars to install the Eternal Flame Memorial in front of Madison’s City Hall, established the memorial walk in front of the courthouse where the bricks display names of Morgan County veterans and the wars in which they served, and donated a flag and flagpole at Madison Memorial Cemetery – the flag is lowered to half-staff whenever a veteran is buried there.
Currently, Post 37 continues to support the Recreation Department as well as the Air Force ROTC program at Morgan County High School, sends rising high school seniors to Boys and Girls State summer leadership and citizen programs, and organizes both the Memorial Day and Veterans Day events in Madison.
Post Commander Jim NeSmith remarked, “I think it’s unique how the City of Madison and the county have always stepped up when we want to do something.”
NeSmith invites any veterans in the area to join American Legion Calvin George Post 37, especially if they do not have an active Post where they live.