When the American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 after World War I, veterans in Gainesville quickly stepped up to establish Paul E. Bolding Post 7 during the same year.
The Gainesville post’s namesake, Paul E. Bolding, was the second Hall County resident to die in World War I.
To celebrate the organization’s 100th birthday, Paul E. Bolding Post 7 will host an anniversary event from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17, at its location on 2324 Riverside Drive in Gainesville.
Johnny Varner, the organization’s veteran service officer, said people often forget that Post 7 has been in Gainesville for a century and used to be the state’s American Legion headquarters. He said this event not only aims to give the organization more exposure, but intends to honor past commanders and local fallen veterans.
The anniversary event will feature the GoldStars Tribute Wall. This traveling wall displays the names of soldiers who have died serving the U.S. military from the beginning of the Gulf War to present day.
“Being that they’re (GoldStars Tribute Wall) based out of Buford, we thought it would be fitting for our 100-year anniversary to highlight the war veterans of today,” Varner said.
He said many don’t know that the American Legion lobbied for the Montgomery GI Bill, which helps service members and veterans meet their education and training costs. Post 7 additionally supports the community by offering scholarships, blood drives, fundraisers for homeless veterans and other programs.
“We do a lot more than people see and we want to invite everyone out to the post,” Varner said.
The anniversary event will include vintage military vehicles, kid-friendly activities, corn hole tournaments, food trucks and local art vendor booths.
From 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., people will get the chance to play Bingo for prizes. Rockasaurus, an Atlanta-based oldies cover band, will provide live entertainment from 4:30-9 p.m.
Varner invites people to bring their fishing poles or personal boats to enjoy the shoreline next to the post.
“With this event I want to hopefully give a sense of Americanism and patriotism, based on the service of veterans in veterans service organizations,” Varner said.
The post is looking to honor local families of veterans who died in action between the Gulf War and present day. To nominate a family or for more information about the 100th anniversary celebration, email Varner at email@example.com or call 404-536-3831.