Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Members of Leitchfield's American Legion Post 81 pose for a photo with a birthday cake on Wednesday to celebrate 100 years of the American Legion.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Members of Leitchfield's American Legion Post 81 pose for a photo with a birthday cake on Wednesday to celebrate 100 years of the American Legion.

Members of Leitchfield's American Legion Post 81 celebrated the 100th anniversary of The American Legion with a birthday party, complete with a birthday cake, on Wednesday afternoon.

The local veterans' organization is one of nearly 12,500 posts across the country and around the world celebrating a century of service that began in Paris, France between March 15-17, 1919, when members of the American Expeditionary Forces gathered for a “morale conference” that led to the creation of what would become The American Legion.

The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness, and, since that time, it has grown into the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of community programs, as well as advocating for patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and assisting fellow servicemembers and veterans.

One of the coordinators of Post 81's birthday celebration, Sergeant at Arms of the American Legion Post 81 Auxiliary Dianne Mudd, said the organization's 100th year "means we're taking good care of our veterans because they take good care of us."

Members young and old from various branches of service and conflicts gathered for a group photo Wednesday night to celebrate the occasion.

Post 81 Commander Rodney Dennis, who served in the US Army from 1974 to 1980, said celebrating the Legion's 100th year is important because, over the course of his near-30-year membership, he has seen the organization help many veterans.

"We're just here for the veterans in any way we can help out," Dennis said, adding that one of the local post's major initiatives currently is to assist homeless veterans in Grayson County.

Dennis encouraged anyone who knows of a homeless veteran to contact the local Legion post at 270-259-6293.

"We don't want any homeless veterans in Grayson County," he said.

The American Legion assists and consists of veterans of the US Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. For more information, visit the American Legion's website, legion.org. For more information about the Legion's centiennial celebration, visit centennial.legion.org.