The American Legion as an organization is turning 100 years old. Congress chartered it back in September of 1919. The Allen O. Delke Post 16 on Main Street, Slatington is the oldest chapter in Lehigh County, and their members say it was organized even before congress made it official.
They have their own room where they display war memorabilia and equipment to show respect to those who served. News 13s Dominic Barone got to see how they're preserving some history.
In what they call the Delke room they basically have a small Slatington museum. One of their members started it about 25 years ago. It was a place for those who wanted to have their families history preserved without having to hold on to it themselves.
"I suggested we make these showcases so anyone who wanted to donate anything there's a place for them to do that. And each item is special to someone else." said David Altrichter.
From uniforms, to pins, and everything in between, Altrichter makes sure it all is perfectly displayed. He had the idea to start it when he noticed World War II items showing up at flea markets.
"Anything they had from their parents that was a treasure. Then they hung on to it. Then you didn't see that stuff showing up until the 60s, the 70s and the 80s much later." Altrichter said.
These items bring back memories for him. This water cooled World War I machine gun used to sit out in front of the post decades ago. Someone restored it to the point where all it needs to work is a firing pin.
"As a kid, there used to be two machine guns setting in front of the post. Walking home from school, us kids we'd sit in it and go *brum brum brum brum*. Play solider." he remembers.
Helping posts all across the country keep their history alive is the legion act signed recently by the president. It allows any veteran after pearl harbor to become a legion member.
"It recognizes 1,600 men killed in action during conflicts that weren't considered wars." said Commander George Burke.
Burke is proud to be leading the oldest post in Lehigh County, but the only way to keep it going is new members.
"We're looking forward to the next century, and hopefully growing our membership." Burke said, "That's paramount to our success."
If an area veteran who was once excluded now wants to join and become part of it's history, you can go to the
Slatington post on the 2nd Monday of each month at 7pm, or call them to sign up at 610-767-4142