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History of American Legion Post No. 54
Primarily taken from the Post 54 75th anniversary booklet, published in 1975

The  American  Legion  was  founded  in  1919,  shortly  after  World  War I, as an organization of wartime veterans, dedicated to continuing service to God  and  country.  Monmouth Post 54 of the American Legion, in Freehold, New Jersey,  was  formed  in  February  of  1920 under the then Post Commander Dr. John C. Clayton. The Post Charter having been signed by the fifty  veterans constituting the total  membership, at that time, thereby dedicating themselves to carry  forth  the  basic  concepts  of  this  great  organization.  The  following September, Unit No. 54 of the Ladies Auxiliary, was formed under the leadership of first president, Emma Florence Beach.

The  Post,  as  seen  today,  is  a far cry from the humble beginnings of 1920. Meetings were held at various members homes  until  a  permanent building could be purchased. In addition to raising funds for a new home, American Legion programs  had  to  be  initiated,  committees  were  formed  to  handle  the  service  and counseling of all veterans and veteran's  widows,  Americanism  programs  and  Flag  Display  Education,  memorial  and burial services, support of community  charity  programs,  parade and dedication ceremonies, and decoration of Veteran's graves. No small task was this, but these people were up to it.

The  following  years  saw  membership increase and Legion programs began to take form and grow. Among some of the  fund  raising  events  of  the  time  were Post sponsored boxing matches, held in local area barns, baseball games, picnics,  and  the  Ladies  Auxiliary  Bazaar,  which  featured  hand  made  quilts  and flowers. It would be a long time coming,  but  finally  in  1928,  enough  money  had  been raised for a small down payment, and a large mortgage at a residence located at the site of our present building.

The great depression  was  just around the corner, and certainly not the best time to go into debt, but the 20 members who  signed  the  note  with  Freehold  Trust,  thereby  making  themselves  liable for repayment, had the courage and determination to  make  good on that promise. It would take 20 years to pay that mortgage, but pay it they did, and a mortgage burning ceremony was held at the Post in 1947.

All  through  World War II, the Post remained active and did its best to help the war effort by conducting scrap metal drives,  blood  donor  programs  and  letter  writing  campaigns to our people in the service. There was counseling for those who had lost loved ones, a difficult task, but Post 54 did it with understanding and compassion.

Wars  end  saw  a surge in membership; the young Veterans had some good ideas of their own; Junior baseball, Little League, Babe Ruth  and  Ed Carlton  Leagues, Boy Scouts, Boys State, safety essay contests, child welfare and adult recreation. They also wanted  a  larger post home, so a building committee was appointed and plans drawn to double the  size  of  the  existing  structure.  Again,  it  would be some years before this dream would be realized, but in 1962 construction  was finally started  and  the dream became a reality. The addition was completed in 1963 and dedicated on New Years Eve. Post 54 had indeed, come a long way.

As we now pass the 85th anniversary of our founding,  in 2005  we  must reflect on those who helped reach this mile- stone.  It  would not be possible to  list  them all, but we  would  like to pay homage to all the past Commanders, past Presidents, and past Squadron Commanders in the history of Post 54.

Missing information concerning the formation of the Post 54 Squadron of  the Son's of  the  American Legion  will  be provided in the very near future.