Members of American Legion Post 20 in Brunswick, which celebrated its 100th anniversary July 20. Taylor Abbott / The Forecaster

BRUNSWICK — American Legion George T. Files Post 20 celebrated 100 years on July 20, commemorating a century of providing services to veterans and the growth of family-oriented programming.

The post was chartered in 1919, the same year the American Legion opened its doors across the country to support veterans after World War I. Post 20 was named after Files, a former professor at Bowdoin College, who served in France during the war and later died from a war injury.

The post survived being closed from 1990-2010 after a decline in membership. It was revived by William “Chick” Ciciotte, a legionnaire who died in 2018. There are now approximately 150 members, and the number has grown steadily since 2011 , according to Second Vice Commander Marty Diler.

The American Legion was founded with a goal to focus on four veterans affairs and rehabilitation, national security, Americanism, and children and youth. The organization also provides assistance in benefits assistance, career and education direction, family and community support, homeless outreach and assistance with recovery.

“If all of the posts throughout the country can focus on those pillars that were created in 1919, we’re meeting our goals,” Town Councilor David Watson, commander of Post 20, said. “We’re not meeting these goals as much as I would like, I think we’re doing well, but we need people that want to participate and give back to the community.”

Post 20 offers programming at 1 Columbus Drive, including a junior shooting program and a recently founded archery program. Additionally, members have been working on the Veterans Plaza, which will be built on the Town Mall.

“Meeting the pillars and understanding what this country means and stands for is what it’s all about,” Watson said.

According to Watson, the junior shooting program is the most popular program that Post 20 sponsors. The archery program is exclusive to Brunswick and was created at the beginning of the year.

“We hope to develop the archery program into a national-level program,” Watson said. “We have opportunities for young people that other places don’t offer.”

He said he hopes programming like that will attract younger members, and create awareness about scholarship programs for high school and college students.

“When we look at what the future of our Post is, we look toward the younger people,” Watson said July 19. “I think creating family values through our youth programs is important. To have that family focus is what I hope that younger people are looking for.”

The July 20 celebration brought families of legionnaires as well as sister organizations to Post 20, where they sat together and talked about the success that the Legion has seen in the last century.

“Being here has given me some great experiences,” post member Dennis Westman said. “When you’re here, everybody has a home.”


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