Reflections: Veterans Day and Post 97


By Evelyn Long - Contributing Columnist



Rex Jenkins, the first World War I casualty. Post 97 was named after him.


John Vaughan, the first Cardington casualty of World War II.


Veterans Day, Nov. 11, was first established as Armistice Day in 1919, a year after the end of World War I.

Cardington’s American Legion Post 97 organized that same year. It was chartered Sept. 9, 1919 and was named in memory of Rex Jenkins, 23 year old Cardington resident who was killed Sept. 23, 1918 while serving in the U S Army.

He was killed in hand to hand combat in the battle of St. Mihiel Hill, France on September 23, 1918 and became the first war casualty from Cardington. Buried inFrance, his body was brought back to Cardington in 1920 and buried in Glendale Cemetery.

The first commander of Post 97 was Walt DeMuth; Vice Commander was Harry Curl; Post Adjutant, Dalzell Maxwell; Finance Officer was Rodney Willits; Historian was C. D. Larue and the chaplain was Frank Myers.

On Feb. 11, 1927, the Sabres Drum and Bugle Corps was organized and these Legion musicians became popular marching in parades and performing all over the state. The Corps disbanded in the 1960’s.

It was 1945 when the post added the name of Vaughan to its title in memory of John E. Vaughan, who graduated from Cardington High School in 1939. He enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and was killed in action in 1944 while flying a mission over occupied France from the base in England.

He became the first Cardington World War II casualty and the Jenkins-Vaughan American Legion Post 97 was named in his memory.

In the late 1980s Squadron 97 of Sons of the American Legion was organized and today has 65 members.

Post 97, currently with 126 members, has served the community in many ways from the Memorial Day parades and programs to the annual ox roasts held in the Legion Park (since sold to the village and is known as Community Park). Its Rifle Squad conducts ceremonies for deceased veterans.

The 1981 tornado destroyed the post hall on South Marion Street and in 1982 the current post home was constructed on Park Street.

Post members have served at various levels of the American Legion.

Serving on the state level were Rev Robert McCutchen as Chaplain; and Jim Morris, Department Commander. Morris also served as National Vice Commander. Serving as district commanders have been Morris, Charles Jackson, Horace McClenathan, Willard Beam, Bart Arndt and Bill Hack.

2020 Officers are Jim Crawford, commander; Jim Morris, first vice commander; Jim Robinson, second vice commander; Bart Arndt, finance officer; Dave Leonard, adjutant; and Jerry Ruth, chaplain.

The post meets once a month and also serves a monthly fish dinner and breakfast.

80 years ago: 1940: Frank VanSickle of Cardington, president of the senior class at Otterbein College was selected for inclusion in the year’s “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.”

https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/11/web1_Long-EvelynBW.jpg

Rex Jenkins, the first World War I casualty. Post 97 was named after him.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/11/web1_Rex-Jenkins-001.jpgRex Jenkins, the first World War I casualty. Post 97 was named after him.

John Vaughan, the first Cardington casualty of World War II.
https://www.morrowcountysentinel.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/29/2020/11/web1_John-Vaughan-001.jpgJohn Vaughan, the first Cardington casualty of World War II.

By Evelyn Long

Contributing Columnist