American Legion stays active in Pelham

Published 3:01 pm Monday, August 3, 2015

American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 remembers veterans at the National Cemetery. (Contributed)

American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 remembers veterans at the National Cemetery. (Contributed)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— The recently formed American Legion Matthew Blount Post 555 is keeping busy with multiple projects throughout the city of Pelham. From retiring aged American flags to hosting ceremonies for veterans, the group is advocating patriotism and honor in the community.

The post’s next event, Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive Ceremony, will be Aug. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the Alabama National Cemetery.  The Spirit of ‘45 program will last about 30 minutes and will focus on honoring WWII veterans, including five of Post 555’s own WWII veterans.

“It’s not only just to get the information out to the public, but also to let our veterans know we appreciate what they have done for our country,” said Tom McDaniel, Post 555’s public relations officer.

The event will be held in conjunction with the newly formed Exchange Club of Shelby County. Members of the club will present flags at the ceremony, helping to honor the “Greatest Generation.” McDaniel called the event a “straight forward thank you ceremony.”

“It’s an education that I think our people are losing the longer we go,” McDaniel said. “It’s important to keep our grown-ups in touch with our veterans. There are so many people who live next to a veteran and don’t know. They need to know so they can know to thank them.”

He added that many people have already contacted the legion members asking them to share their stories of service with youth in the area.  They were approached several times by parents at Post 555’s first district tournament July 9-12 at Pelham High School.

The baseball tournament also gave Post 555 the opportunity to publically retire Pelham High School’s American flag. Retiring flags is one of the free services American Legion provides for tattered, torn and aged flags.

The post has been reaching out to the community concerning its Flag Reward program as a part of its community service and positive professional image in the local community project. The program retires old flags and provides the business or organization with a new one at a low cost.

“People have a tendency to fly these flags until they fall off the flag pole,” McDaniel said.

The flag program is part of the national American Legion, and McDaniel said there is a section of American Legion that constructs flags. A portion of each flag sold goes back to Post 555 as they attempt to retire all the tattered flags. He said they are talking to many large companies about the service.

Because of current ongoing construction at the Pelham Senior Center, Post 555 will meet at the National Guard Armory in Pelham, 1000 Yeager Parkway, Aug. 6 at 7 p.m. for its monthly meeting. For more information, visit