DUBUQUE AMERICAN LEGION POST #6
The American Legion Dubuque Post #6 was founded in 1919 with goals to defend and support Veterans, Defense, Youth, Americanism and Communities. The Legion is America's largest veterans service organization works every day to uphold time-honored values.
We perform these goals through support of many programs, baseball (for which Dubuque County baseball team was the first Iowa team to make the Legion World Series (since 1986) and the first Iowa team to ever win a game in the World Series (2018), Boys State/Nation (we send three boys each year to this week long event, and in 2018 one of the boys was elected a senator), Oratorical Contest (we hold a local contest in December, with the winner moving on to County competition, and a chance to reach state and national competitions all while winning scholarship money), Scouts Eagle Recognition (each year we recognize and honor all those scouts who achieve the rank of Eagle Scout over the past year), and school leadership awards (most of the Dubuque schools participate and we share medals & certificates in June).
We provide financial assistance to veterans and families (recently to the young family of a veteran who died in an accident), we hold events in support of families (recently the "Walk With A Veteran" event raised money for University of Iowa Children's Hospital, while bringing together veterans, their families and their friends for some healthy community activity), we provide Funeral Details for fallen veterans (more in 2018 than any in the past five years), and Honor Guards for veteran events (averaging five per month). We are a nonpolitical entity and do not promote the candidacy of an individual seeking political office. Post #6 participates at other Legion activities within Dubuque County, 2nd District, the State of Iowa, and National efforts.
On May 13th, 1919, the World War Veterans Association of Dubuque passed into history and became the American Legion. Dubuque former servicemen met in early 1919 and made the decision to re-organize as an American Legion Post. The name and constitution changes were made at the meeting after a report by R. M. Plaister and Joseph Ham, who attended the national convention of the new American Legion in St. Louis on May 8-10, 1919, and Post #6 received its charter in May of 1919.
At the time of forming, Iowa was noted for having 76,000 men in the Civil War, 6,000 in the Spanish American War.
At the June 1919 meeting, an attempt was made to name the new Post after the first Dubuquer killed in WWI, Pvt Carl Beversdorf gave his life serving in France, or Sergeant Matthew Spautz, who earned the distinguished service cross for valor and bravery in action though mortally wounded. Both were former members of Company A National Guard unit. According to available records, no consensus was ever reached and to this day in 2019 at the 100thanniversary Post #6 remains unnamed for any individual.
At the September 1919 meeting, it was noted that over 800 new members had signed up, but that over 1,000 potential Dubuque members had still not applied, and the 1,000 mark was expected to be reached the following Saturday after the meeting.
That conclusion has been proven true as today the American Legion is the largest wartime Veterans' organization with nearly 15,000 local Posts throughout America and over 3 million members who care about America, Veterans, their families and our nation's youth.
After the first meeting, Mr. Carl Van Saun was elected Commander of American Legion Dubuque Post #6, and Post #6 received permanent status on 2019. The first officers of American Legion Post were: Commander: Mr. Carlos H. Van Saun, vice-Commander John Beaves, Mr. R. M. Plaister, Adjutant, Mr. Al Garbelman Finance Officer, Mr. C. A. Wilhelm historian, and Mr. Joseph Ham as sergeant at arms. Other positions included Mr. J. Kelly Entertainment committee chair, Mt. Herbert McCabe Legislative chair, Mr. M. C. Cooney Ceremonies chair, and Mr. Bob Lyons Membership chair.
At the November 1919 meeting, John Gallagher, an Irishman who farms near Dubuque, was the first man to pay his American Legion dues for 1920. At the December meeting, it was voted to lease the Waples Building at 10th and Main Street for its new assembly hall with a capacity of 400, billiard rooms, and a reading room as part of the renovation and remodeling to open by the 1st of February 1920. Up until the, the Commercial Club served as the Legion Headquarters in Dubuque. While it was noted that dues were $2 per member per year, in 1924 the dues for state and national had increased to $2 each. In correspondence, it was noted that Post #6 planned to increase membership 25% from 1924 to 1925, which numbered 839 by March 17th, 1925. In 1926 newspaper articles, it was reported by Post Commander Charles Kretschmer that membership was only 10% of those eligible to join, with 158 members and 1,500 eligible Dubuquers. By November of 1926, the new Commander – Stanley N. Meyer was installed, with Vice commanders Fred Schroeder, Dr. William Quillin, and Charles C. Boysen, adjutant Frank J. Blaser, sergeant at arms W. H. Kramer, historian D. R Sheldon, finance A. M. Bink and executive board member Al J. Nelson. By 1929, the Post membership was over 500, with meetings regularly holding 50 members in attendance while Post Commander Harvey Lange pushed out the annual membership drive teams (15 membership precincts throughout the city). At the April 1929 meeting, with 65 members present at Post #6, it was noted that the new 30-member Legion Drum Corps had increased its practice sessions in advance of the Memorial Day event that would host 12 field drums corps. By 1931, a Post Activity Report noted membership was 577. Much of this information was gathered from newspaper articles in a scrap book found at a local area garage sale by Nick Lucy.
Items of note, Post #6 hosted the 1933, 1983, and 1993 (under Commander Dick Bridges) state conventions. In modern times, Commander Bob Felderman hosted the 2nd District Fall Conference in 2018.
A Women's Auxiliary of American Legion Post #6 was formed later, and the first note of meetings in the local paper was 1929. The Legion has every reason to be proud of its Auxiliary. Auxiliary members are always anxious and willing to co-operate in every Legion activity.
A Sons of the Legion Squadron 6 was formed in 2012. The Legion has every reason to be proud of its Sons of Legion unit, which gained statewide recognition because of its programs of service.
MEMORIAL DAY has always been an outstanding occasion in this community. In addition to memorial events throughout the Dubuque community, the goal of every Veteran to its last man is to keep MEMORIAL DAY sacred to the memory of our war dead of all of the wars of the country; and all graves are decorated on this National Holiday.
ARMISTICE DAY, now called VETERANS' DAY, originally marked the end of fighting in World War I. It is an important holiday on the calendar of Legionnaires everywhere and in the hearts of all Veterans. Annually the Post sponsors the Veterans Day Remembrance on 11 November. An important tradition was established when the Post led in the memorial ceremony at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, marking the exact hour of the cessation of hostility on the war fronts.
Funeral Detail and Honor Guard
Since its inception American Legion Post 6 has been a leader in this community in the area of veteran funeral details and honor guard details; which has been incorporated by all the American Legion Posts in Dubuque County. In 2018, Post #6 provided military honors for over 86 veterans, setting a record from the prior five years.
Scholarships and Community Projects
American Legion Post #6 sponsors various educational and speaking contests that offer scholarship or prize money for the further education of our children. We also sponsor and financially assist many worthy community projects and programs initiated by the National American Legion.
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