The Eagleson-Melling Post #179, located in Milton, will be hosting a Memorial Day service on Sunday, May 26 as part of the American Legion centennial celebration. The service starts at 10 a.m. at the Milton Little Star Theatre.
By Melissa Anderson
The program is a Milton tradition and typically has a speaker who is currently active duty at the Cavalier Air Force Station. The names of those who have passed, both for the American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary, are recognized. Following this there are patriotic readings and the service moves to the nearby Milton Memorial Cemetery where the Milton Veterans monument is located.
“We fire a volley of rounds out there in remembrance of the veterans and then go to the Catholic cemetery east of Milton and do the same thing,” Bernie Goodman, commander of Eagleson-Melling Post #179, explained.
To conclude the service, the American Legion Auxiliary hosts a free will donation meal at the American Legion Hall in Milton.
“We usually get most of the crowd that comes to the service at the theatre show up there; the dinner is a very good meal,” Goodman said.
The Milton Veterans monument was partially destroyed a few years ago. High winds took down the central feature of the monument in 2017. Goodman explained that the centerpiece went down because it was higher than the outside pieces. To replace the broken feature, the Milton Post had to raise an additional $16,000 and wait over a year for the special stone to be quarried, shipped to the stonemason and then have it prepared to take its place in the monument.
“The monument was built with the help of donations from many people. A lot of the people have roots to Milton but don’t live in the area. We had requested funds to rebuilding it after it had been destroyed, and we received a lot of donations then, too. We had no problems raising the money to put it back together,” Goodman said.
Like so many posts in small rural communities, Goodman shared that numbers are dwindling. The Legion post, which started in 1920, has done what it can to provide services to the community of Milton. One such service is, despite the closure of the official post office, maintaining of the post boxes to provide a place to sort the mail and give residents a location to pick up their mail without having to go elsewhere.
“I think anybody who has been on active duty feels very strongly about the American Legion and what it does to help Veterans,” Goodman said.
As an American Legion member of nearly 50 years, Goodman notes that today’s military is vastly different from the ones of the past. The modern American military is all volunteer, meaning no one was drafted to serve their country.
“I think it’s probably the best military we’ve had because it is all volunteer; people are not drafted into the military.”
The memorial service on Sunday, May 26 is open to anyone and everyone. Goodman invites all to attend.