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American Legion Invites New Members to Join

Nov. 8, 2005 – If you're a veteran of any branch of the military, the Viggo E. Sewer Post 131 of the American Legion welcomes you as a member.
The St. John-based organization meets at 10 a.m. on the second Saturday of every month at the Bellevue Village Community Center.
The organization also has an auxiliary for family members of people who served in the military. It meets at 10:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of the month at Mooie's Bar in Cruz Bay.
Paul Devine, the American Legion's adjutant, said that the post, which first formed in the 1970s, was reactivated in 2002 with five charter members. Today, the organization has 31 members, nearly double what it had a year ago.
"Most are Vietnam veterans," Devine said.
However, he said that the post has one World War II veteran, Milton Samuel, and a few who served in the Korean War.
Devine said the organization's main focus is to provide information to veterans and to support veterans and their families in times of need, but it also active in community endeavors.
In addition to the upcoming Nov. 12 Veterans' Day parade, the members lay wreaths at cemeteries on Memorial Day and hold a recognition ceremony on Armed Forces Day.
The members read to children at the Elaine I. Sprauve Library several times throughout the year and visit schools to tell students about their organization and the military.
"They're interested in seeing people in uniform," Devine said.
He said the members also participate in the opening ceremonies at the July 4th Celebration Village, and they staff the booths at the Children's Carnival Village.
The post is named after Viggo E. Sewer, a St. John resident who died Feb. 5, 1953 while serving in the U.S. Army during the Korean conflict.
Devine said the St. John post if one of five in the territory. They all currently come under the Puerto Rico organization's umbrella, but the Virgin Islands posts are seeking to become independent.
According to the organization's Web site, the American Legion is a national organization that began in 1919. It was founded in Paris by the American Expeditionary Force. The U.S. Congress granted the organization a charter later that same year.
Today, the organization has 2.6 million members around the country who belong to about 15,000 local posts like the one on St. John.
Its efforts resulted in what is now called the Veteran's Administration, a federal agency.

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