Legion Celebrates 75 Years
By John Carden
Hampton Union, Friday, December 22, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
[John Carden Photo]
HAMPTON -- A spirited celebration at Hampton's American Legion Post 35 marked its 75th year as a place for local veterans to meet and reinforce the values of God and country.
Christmas and patriotism served as themes of the birthday party that featured live music by the Hampton Academy Jazz Band and the honoring of 33 departed members of the post.
The Winnacunnet Marine Corps Junior ROTC Color Guard marched in with the American flag followed by ceremonial readings including Post 35's history delivered by Chaplain John M. Holman.
The post was founded in 1931 when Hampton finally received its own charter membership from the nation's largest organization supporting veteran servicemen. Borne from 46 World War I veterans of the Exeter Legion Post and led by Marvin Young, the new American Legion Post 35 began bi-monthly meetings at Hampton Beach Fire Station 1. Its first meeting featured a speech from a Civil War veteran.
In 1969, the Legion moved into its present home, the former Grange Hall at 69 High St. The legion's oldest member today is World War II veteran Ken Buell, age 91.
Seventy-five years from its inception, today's Post 35 enjoys a vibrant and growing membership now led by Post Commander Ralph G. Fatello.
Fatello served in the Marines in the Vietnam War at a time when the military suffered low popularity. His undying patriotism and energy has fueled the post into a place of recognition and spirit for those who have served our country regard-less of political climates.
The spirit of Post 35 was particularly evident Monday evening when Legion member Joe Kutt, of Joe's Meat Shoppe in North Hampton, burst into jubilant singing and clapping to the [Hampton Academy] jazz band's rendition of "You're A Grand Old Flag."
Patriotic Christmas cake, beautiful singing by Hampton Academy's Elaine Weatherby, and a Yankee gift swap added to the success of the 75th-year celebration.