The Lawrence J. Bauer American Legion Post 45 is celebrating its 100th Anniversary Aug.16-17, and inviting the community to celebrate along with them.
In a Friday, Aug. 16 celebration at Thornapple Plaza, hot dogs, chips and lemonade will be served from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. A proclamation by Mayor David Tossava at 6:45 p.m. will be followed by Happy Birthday sung by the audience and dessert; servings of the 100th year anniversary birthday cake and ice cream. A concert by the 338th Army Band begins at 7:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Aug.17, the post will host a Centennial Open House from noon to 4 p.m., and will feature Bingo from 10 a.m. to 1p.m. From 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the American Legion Riders will do a Cruise and show of their motorcycles and military vehicles.
A welcome from Post Commander Steve Carr is at 1:30 p.m. and remarks by invited dignitaries District Commander Barry Wood, Sen. John Bizon, Representative Julie Calley, Mayor David Tossava and Ron Bauer. A free hamburger dinner is served at 2 p.m. and the music also starts then.
From 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. there are games, music and raffles as well as tours of the renovated post at 2160 South M-37 Highway. Activities include a corn hole tournament and possibly a bounce house for the kids. A mortar, a recent addition, is now on its pad at the post and can be inspected.
“Free to all-it’s our Centennial Celebration,” the post’s invitation reads.
*Post namesake Lt. Lawrence J. Bauer: Born March 29, 1894 to James M. and Grace Garrison Bauer, Lawrence was raised in Hastings, graduated president of his high school class in 1913 and entered college, first at Michigan State College and then at the University of Michigan.
When war came he enlisted as a bombing observer and taught at the flight school in France before being commissioned. In 1918 he flew with the 11th Aero Squadron during the Meuse Argonne offensive and was there at the armistice.
Two days later, however, he was killed in a wind shear accident while taking off for an observation flight. He is buried at the Meuse Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial near the village of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon France, which lies about 26 miles northwest of Verdun.
(Courtesy of Post 45 archives).
*The 338th Army Band was originally formed in 1943 at Camp Siebert, Alabama, as part of a support group for General Patton's 3rd Army in Europe. The band was deactivated before overseas deployment in 1945. The 338th was reactivated in 1952 as part of the Second United States Army, according to Wikipedia.
*A mortar is usually a simple, lightweight, man portable, muzzle-loaded weapon, consisting of a smooth-bore metal tube fixed to a base plate with a lightweight bipod mount and a sight. They launch explosive shells in high-arching ballistic trajectories at close targets.