By Traci Chapman
Twenty-five years ago Mustang’s American Legion Post 353 became a reality – on Saturday, Legionnaires will hold a special event to thank the community that has embraced them.
“We want to invite everyone to come out and have a great time with us – it’s important for us to mark this event and for us to remind everyone in Mustang how much we appreciate their support,” Don Kuntze said.
Post 353 received its permanent charter April 26, 1993 from the national American Legion organization. Since that time, members have been a driving force in helping the community – from recognizing first responders, city employees and veterans, to manning blood drives, providing an honor guard for military funerals and other events, helping seniors and students with things like leadership opportunities, scholarships and more.
The group meets at 7 p.m. the second Thursday of each month at Mustang Senior Center, located at Town Center. Its next meeting is set for June 14.
American Legion’s Mustang Community Appreciation Day will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. June 9 at Mustang Town Center. Held on the lawn east of the center’s main parking lot, members will be serving free hamburgers and hot dogs all day and will sponsor a car show, children’s games and activities and more, Kuntze said.
However, that’s not all that’s happening Saturday. At 5 p.m., Legionnaires will gather again in Wild Horse Park – this time at Veteran’s Plaza – for a flag retirement ceremony, held in conjunction with Flag Day, held annually each June 14.
While the National Flag Conference in 1923 adopted a national flag code, it was not until December 1942 the code became law. National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress in 1949.
In Mustang, and many other places, American Legion posts have taken over much of the responsibility for honorable flag disposal. That became an official Legion activity in
September 1937, when the “Ceremony for Disposal of Unserviceable Flags,” was adopted during American Legion’s 19th National convention. In 1944, Legionnaires amended one aspect of retirements, suggesting they be held annually on Flag Day.
Mustang’s American Legion Post 353 holds flag retirements as needed throughout the year. Anyone wishing to dispose of an American flag may contact the Legion to do so.
Mustang Masons Lodge 407 also has a flag disposal box constructed last year by Mustang High School student Justice DeMoe. Masons’ drop-box is located by the flagpole and in front of Mustang Masonic Lodge 407, located at 406 E. state Highway 152.
Post 353 and Lodge 407 have a close history – several men are members of both organizations; veterans represent a large percentage among Masons, officials said.
For more information about the June 9 event, contact Kuntze via email at [email protected] or by calling 405-823-8979. For information about flag disposal or Post 353 meetings or other events, contact Commander Paul Ray at 405-921-5819.