Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, a day people pay their respects to those who have served in the military.

There is an area organization that has been honoring and helping out veterans not just on Veterans Day, but all year long.

The Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion Post 172 has been actively helping out the community and veterans for the past 100 years.

It states on the Post’s website, “Since our charter in (1919), our American Legion Post 172 has been welcoming Veterans from all branches of our Armed Forces. Today we continue to welcome all military personnel serving our country.”

Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion Post Commander Walter Cole said, “The Legion is family. We all work together for the veterans. My history of the Legion was taught to me by family members all who have been past commanders of their legions — Joe Metcalf (father-in-law) of Sauk Center, Bob and Dianne Metcalf (uncle/aunt) of Hastings and all family members in Minnesota who are members in one way or another. Everything we do is for the veterans and the community.”

WHAT THE LEGION IS

According to Post Commander Cole there are four pillars of the American Legion. They are Veterans, Americanism, Children and Youth, and National Security.

“To fill these needs we provide veterans with a place of comfort and emotional needs while being a strong voice in legislative issues,” he said. “We support the local schools with scholarships and sending kids to Boy’s and Girl’s state, Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Gun Safety. Americanism is supported by showcasing the U.S. Flag we put up street flags for downtown Osseo, and teaching flag etiquette at different schools. Our Color Guard is one of our prides and  handles funerals, parades and presents the colors for football games. With national security we provide support for current soldiers who are deployed.”

Past Legion Post 172 Commander Harland Anderson said the Legion provides support assistance to veterans and their families in the area through involvement in the VA Veterans assistance programs.

“We provide legislation support to our State and National Government Representatives in our ongoing mission to provide for our returning veterans and their families,” Anderson said. “We support many of the sports and academic programs in the Osseo Area Schools through our steak fries. We have provided specialized equipment to the Osseo Police Department. We have contributed to the beautification projects of the downtown Osseo and Maple Grove Parks areas. We provide direct assistance to veterans in need through our Sons of the American Legion and Legion Riders events.”

The Legion Post 172 has also provided additional support for children and youth through its American Legion Auxiliary program.

Cole said, “We recently helped the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon build a beautiful Memorial park in Maple Grove. We will be doing a Veterans Day service there on Veterans Day. We also do a Memorial Day service in Osseo every year. We also teamed up with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon of Maple and Home Depot to build a ramp for a veteran in Osseo.”

“We have been an integral part of this community for the last 100 years,” Anderson added. “If you want to take the pulse of the Osseo area, you come to the legion. We are the ‘Living Room’ of the Osseo area.”

100TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

Last month, the Osseo-Maple Grove Legion recognized its 100th birthday with a big celebration.

“Overall a great time had by many people despite the bad weather,” Cole said. “It began with the Mayor of Osseo presenting a proclamation to us on behalf of [the cities of] Osseo and Maple Grove and the city of Brooklyn Park doing the same. The history of our Legion was on display with pictures and artifacts from various times. Documents from our original charter was the cornerstone.”

Other celebration events included: a bean bag tournament, a visit from some Vikings cheerleaders, music from some local bands, food and beverages.

VETERANS DAY EVENT

The Osseo-Maple Grove American Legion will be hosting the first-ever Maple Grove Veterans Day Ceremony at the Maple Grove Veterans Memorial in Central Park of Maple Grove, 12000 Central Park Way.

The event, which is anticipated to become an annual event, will be Monday, Nov. 11, at 1 p.m.

The ceremony will include the Post 172 Color Guard, open prayer by Legion Chaplain Ken Ruona, Legion Veterans Day commemoration, speaker LTC Richard Brummond, closing prayer by Legion Auxiliary Chaplain Barb Borgh, and the retiring of the colors. Commander Cole will preside over the ceremony.

TO LEARN MORE

Any veteran can join the legion if they have served at least one day of active service after Dec. 7, 1941.

Cole said the Legion family consists of Legionaries, Auxiliary (can be spouses of the Legionaries), Sons of the American Legion (if a dad or grandfather served they can join) and finally the Legion Riders who must be a member in one of the groups listed here.

Even non-Legion members can get involved at Post 172. Cole says for those interested, they can come to the Legion and ask if there is any events coming up that they can volunteer or just enjoy a great meal and the environment. Just come to the legion to sign up or go online to legionpost172.org. The Legion is located at 260 Fourth Ave. S.E. in Osseo.

Cole added, “The Legion is no longer a bunch of old guys sitting around the bar. We have a lot of younger people that come in for good food and good times. We have something going on every day. Come down and check it out.”

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