A history of the VFW in Etowah County, and in Alabama

By Danny 'The Vagabond' CrownoverBy Danny 'The Vagabond' Crownover

The Etowah Historical Society recently received a book from Tom Robertson that he had picked up in a local yard sale.
The book was titled the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Alabama 50th year anniversary, 1899-1949.
It contains the history of the VFW in Alabama, especially here in Etowah County.
The Vagabond wishes to share this article and rare photos to our reader.
The story continues from last week:

“The Post sold more than $800 worth of poppies with the help of the Ladies Auxiliary on Memorial Day that year.”

“The Post membership reached an all-time high of 813. A large delegation from the Post attended the National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, and also the State Convention at Huntsville.”

“A highlight of the year was the barbecue given at Hooks Lake in September when more than eleven hundred people attended.”

“The Post sent a large delegation to the Armistice Day Parade in Birmingham. The Post Color Guard and many other members of the Post marched in the parade.”

“Early in his administration, Commander Tommie began to make preparation for the organization of a firing squad to participate in the funerals of the war dead being returned for burial on their native soil.”

“Uniforms and rifles were obtained, and a squad of volunteers was drilled regularly until they were ready to participate in the funerals.”

“When the first five bodies of veterans were returned, the firing squad and a large delegation met the bodies at the depot, and they were given military funerals with an estimated crowd of three thousand at the ceremony.”

“Also during Commander Tommie’s administration, the Post bought a section of Crestwood Memorial Cemetery, in which are 246 grave spaces for the families of deceased veterans.”

“This space is reserved for burial of veterans of all wars, and the only requirement for burial in these plots is that the deceased be a veteran and that the family request his burial in this plot.”

“The next administration was under the leadership of Wilson W. Parris, who continued the work begun by C. D. Tommie, and at the time of this writing more than 60 funerals have been held for repatriates.”

“New summer uniforms were bought for the firing squad, and they sacrificed much time from their work in order to participate.”

“A 60-foot flag pole was erected in the V. F. W. plot in Crestwood Cemetery.”
 
“On Memorial Day this year, in cooperation with the Ladies Auxiliary, more than $1,100 worth of poppies were sold.”

“Prior to the May primary in 1948, the Post put on a campaign to get all qualified people to register for voting.”

“As a result of this, several hundred new voters were registered in time to take part in the election.”

“The Post has been very active in relief work.”

“More than $1,000 has been expended for the direct relief of veterans and their families. $50 was donated to the Cancer Society, and $100 was donated to flood relief in the Northwest flood disasters during the early summer of 1948.
 
A large delegation from the Post attended the State Convention in Birmingham in June 1948.

The Post was credited with a membership of 749. The expenses of these delegates were paid by the Post.”

“Four delegates attended the National Convention at St. Louis, Missouri. The expenses of two of these, C. P. Hudgins and C. D. Clay, were paid by the Post as a prize for their winning a membership contest.”

“The other two delegates were L.D. Ingram and George Little.”

“On Sept. 21, 1948, Department Commander Robert K. Bell, Senior Vice-Commander W. D. Partlow, Jr., Junior Vice-Commander Elvin McCary, and Department Adjutant-Quartermaster T. H. Walker attended a Post meeting to get the 1949 membership drive under way.”

“A Post basketball team has been organized and plans are being made for a very active basketball season.”

“The red letter day in the administration of Commander Parris was the visit on Nov. 17, 1948, of Commander-in-Chief Lyall T. Beggs.’

“An interesting and impressive program was presented in honor of the Commander-in-Chief and Department Commander Robert K. Bell.”

“Since that time the local VFWs have contributed much to our area.”

 
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