A century after its founding, Adams American Legion Post 160 honors veterans' sacrifices

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ADAMS — A local patriotic veterans organization on Sunday marked its centennial year of service to veterans and the community with a tradition like no other in Massachusetts.

The Adams American Legion Post 160, as it's done for nearly nine decades, rededicated the Veterans War Memorial Tower atop Mount Greylock.

Shrouded in a heavy fog, veterans from around the county stood before the monument to remember those who died defending the United States. The ceremony culminated with a 21-gun salute and the laying of a wreath inside the tower's rotunda.

Post 160 member and historian John Bordeau says the rededication became an "honor and obligation" for the local legionnaires as the tower was being completed and before it was officially dedicated in June, 1933.

"On Nov. 11, 1932, the day after the first lighting of the tower, the Adams American Legion held an informal observance on the Val-ley Street athletic field in town. Assembling at the post room, the le-gionnaires marched to Valley Street and set off 11 aerial bombs as a salute to the beacon," Bordeau told The Eagle in an interview prior to Sunday's ceremony.

Originally built to honor Massachusetts veterans killed during World War I, the tower has come to represent all veterans from the commonwealth who've died in combat.

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The Adams American Legion being at the forefront of honoring and serving veterans dates back to Congress chartering the national organization in September, 1919. That same month, Post 160 held its first meeting, eventually receiving its charter in 1920.

"We still consider 1919 as our founding year," Bordeau said.

The American Legion, headquartered in Indianapolis, is the nation's largest wartime veterans service organization founded on four pillars: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children & Youth. According to the Legion's national website, "each pillar encompasses a variety of programs that benefit our nation's veterans, its service members, their families, the youth of America and ordinary citizens."

Bordeau says the Adams Legion adhering to the four pillars includes providing scholarships and participating in local events such as Flag Day ceremonies at local schools and today's Memorial Day Parade in Adams.

"This year we will have a float. We've rented a flatbed trailer and will decorate it for our 100th anniversary," he said.

Post 160 will also provide the honor guard for the parade that steps off at 10 a.m. from the former Adams Memorial Middle School and ends at the Maple Street cemetery for a memorial service.

Dick Lindsay can be reached at 413-496-6233.


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