On Saturday night, July 20, Shanklin-Attaway Post 5 of the American Legion held their annual installation of officers ceremony. What made this year’s ceremony special is the fact it was likely the last time it will be held at the iconic location, 5 Shorter Ave., which has been the home of Post 5 for almost 100 years.
As the new Post Commander, I want to express a big thank you to the following city and county officials for joining us for this occasion: Scotty Hancock, chairman Floyd County Commission; Randy Quick, Rome City Commissioner; Sheriff Tim Burkhalter; Tom Ewing, assistant chief, Floyd County Police Department; and Major Rodney Bailey, Rome Police Department. Also, I want to thank the officials of our fellow American Legion Posts No. 52, No. 136 and No. 506 for attending along with those of VFW Post 4911, the Marine Corps League and last — but certainly not least — the magnificent Unit 5 Ladies Auxiliary. Post 5 salutes you all!
I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you and express our gratitude to Shane’s Rib Shack for their support and providing our meal at no cost to Post 5.
As readers of this paper are aware, the property is currently under a sales contract and the sale is expected to be finalized by the end of this year. I want to emphasize that “Post 5 is Alive” and not closing its doors, only relocating. The future location has not yet been determined, but hopefully it will be as visible as it has been in the past.
The reasons the property is being sold are too numerous to expand on in this letter. Suffice it to say that at one time, Post 5 was the premier and largest post in the state with over 1,500 members. Today, our membership is less than 400 and the overwhelming majority are veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. So, we are talking about veterans in their 70s, 80s and 90s
For the most part, veterans of the Gulf Wars and today’s War on Terror have not embraced the American Legion or other service organizations. To those veterans I want to acknowledge that our country owes you a tremendous debt and sincere gratitude for your service, sacrifice and patriotism. However, you need to realize what the Legion stands for. Briefly, the foundation of the American Legion is made up of four pillars: veteran affairs and rehabilitation; national security; Americanism; and children, youth and community.
Any veteran that has ever received or is currently receiving a VA benefit can thank the American Legion. It was the American Legion that proposed and fiercely advocated for the original legislation commonly known as the “GI’s Bill of Rights.” Today the Legion is still a powerhouse advocate fighting for and protecting the rights of veterans and their families.
In March of this year, the American Legion celebrated its 100-year anniversary and Post 5 will celebrate its 100th year next March. I am sure that most people of Rome and Floyd county are unaware that Shanklin-Attaway Post 5 was one of the first American Legion posts organized in the United States. I am also sure that very few know that a Roman, Barry Wright, was a founder of the American Legion and was a member of the first caucus of the American Legion held in Paris, France, in 1919.
Fun fact: American Legion Post 1 was established in December 1919 and is still located and active in Paris, France.
Eddie Hines, Commander
American Legion Post 5, Rome