Evoked several times, including with his image on the program cover, Ray Keenan would have been proud of the Cleveland Legion’s Centennial Memorial ceremony.
The Saturday event began at Veterans Memorial Park on the city’s northwest corner and then moved by procession to the Legion Club building downtown. Keenan, for whom Cleveland Legion Post 207 was christened, was a Cleveland soldier who was killed in action during World War I.
“Since their inception, our local American Legion post and axillary have been dedicated to supporting the four pillars of the American Legion,” said Sons of the American Legion Commander Andy Queen as he recounted the post’s 100-year history. “Those being veterans’ affairs and rehabilitation, national security, Americanism, and children and youth.”
Queen went on to request all present to thank those who served in the military. He also asked them to consider how they can help ensure the Legion will celebrate again in another 100 years.
Also at the park ceremony, Dennis Hiller of the Sons of the American Legion read the names of the 43 Cleveland area veterans who served in WWI while wife Anne, president of the Auxiliary, rang a bell after each name. Post Chaplain Bob Hahn gave the invocation and benediction.
Steve Biehn, Post 207 adjunct, Sue Eppmeyer, Auxiliary chaplain, and Greg Davis, SAL adjunct laid the memorial wreaths. Bill Stangler played taps. The Cleveland firing squad (Biehn, Dave Ziesmer, Dave Voss, Ryan Ponwith and dad Bruce, Terry Schmidt and Don McCabe) shot a trio of rounds to salute the dead.
Color guards from St. Peter, Le Center and Elysian joined with Cleveland’s to post the colors.
Led and trailed by Cleveland fire trucks, the four squadrons marched the six blocks to the Legion building after the park ceremony. There, Queen presented a symbolic memorial to POWs and MIAs.
After the solemn ceremonies, the celebration turned merry with a free-will donation dinner followed by karaoke out back in the evening.