CONCORD – For nearly 100 years, the American Legion Post 51 has owned land along Wilshire Avenue in Concord.
It’s one of the longest sitting addresses in the city.
The group, which is dedicated to helping veterans and youth throughout North Carolina, is pushing to have that road named after Post 51.
They made a presentation to Concord City Council, now they are working to get permission from the North Carolina Department of Transportation to change the name.
“This Post has been on this property, now in another building, for 100 years,” American Legion Post 51 Commander Ron Frawley said. “We are probably, if not, the oldest on-going places in Concord and Cabarrus County. Not many businesses can say that.”
According to its website, the American Legion is “committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.”
American Legion Post 51 has nearly 300 members, and most of them served in the military in some aspect.
According to Frawley, Post 51 has taken the name of Fred Y. McConnell American Legion Post 51 after a Concord native and officer in the United States Army officer who was killed in France in 1918 during World War I.
McConnell is buried on Oakwood Cemetery off of Church Street where Post 51 places flags at the gravesite of veterans on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
While the American Legion celebrated its centennial in February, Post 51 will recognize its milestone on Nov. 20 – the day the Post was founded.
“It’s a tradition of the American Legion,” said Post 51 Adjutant Thomas Hayes. “The American Legion is the oldest military organization in probably the world.”
Post 51 will walk in the Harrisburg July 4th Celebration.
They are active in the community, sponsoring a local Post 51 baseball and girls fastpitch softball teams and being active with the Boy Scouts of America.
“The community, we are very big into the youth programs,” Frawley said. “You look at what the county or the city would be like without the American Legion, it would be a lot different.”
Post 51 provides gifts to veterans for Christmas, and also participates in Operation North State, which sends North Carolina veterans gifts of North Carolina manufactured products.
“We are the holders of the honor and tradition of the veterans who preceded us, from World War I up through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and so on,” Frawley said. “We are also the gateway for current and future veterans.”