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Recognizing the military service of men and women from Arenzville, Illinois.


Civil War
Sp.-Amer. War
World War I
World War II
Cold War
Desert Storm
Legion Post 604

The Arenzville American Legion Post 604

In 1947, when the recently reorganized American Legion Post 604 developed plans to build a permanent meeting hall, they asked for the support of community members. As a result of their dedication and the generous response from the community, the Legion post built the Legion Hall, which so far has served three generations as a site of meetings for town organizations, church dinners, dances, family gatherings, school classrooms, musical concerts, flower shows, dramatic performances and of course, the home of Legion Post 604. Shown below are the contents of the letters sent out to the community in 1947 to ask for donations to pay for the hall.

Legion Hall Beginnings

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Above: 1947 letters from the Commander of American Legion Post 604, Kenneth Hierman, and Edward Wessler, President of the Community Club, call upon members of the Arenzville community to support the effort to raise money to build the Legion Hall. Read letter contents below.


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A Call for Support

Above:  Ens. Robert D. Clark addresses servicemen at the Arenzville Burgoo ca. 1946 and calls for Arenzville veterans to support the American Legion Post 604.

Arenzville American Legion Post 604
Arenzville, Illinois

May 12, 1947

To the citizens of Arenzville and the surrounding community:

Twice within twenty-five years the men and women of our country have been called upon to forge themselves into a team and take up arms in the defense of their country, its people, and its ideals. Both times they have seen their military task through to its finish at great cost in lives, time and money. But each time they have put the goals of war behind them only to find complex problems of readjustment and reform stretching ahead of them. Since these great teams have disbanded, many of their former members wish to maintain some sort of organization, not military, but democratic, in order that these new tasks, of equally great importance to the community, may be better accomplished.

The largest, and probably the most influential of such veterans’ organizations, the American Legion, dedicated to the service of our veterans and to the concepts for which they fought, is represented by a local chapter, which has as its further aim: service to the community.

Like many other local organizations, the Legion lacks access to suitable quarters for its meetings, and plans as one of its first major projects the construction of a Legion Home, which will not only house its activities but will be made available to any organization that is working in the public interest.

The plans provide for a building thirty feet by eighty feet in size, to be erected on a site already obtained by the Legion, located in the vicinity of the proposed site of the new water tower.

The main floor will be designed to accommodate meetings, programs, dances, etc. and there will be a basement with a kitchen equipped for serving suppers and banquets. The estimated cost is $7600, exclusive of furnishings.

In obtaining funds for this project, the Legion has been pledged the complete support of the Arenzville Community Club and hopes for the assistance of its other friends throughout the community. In giving such assistance, you will have the whole-hearted gratitude of your war veterans.

Yours sincerely,
Kenneth Hierman, Commander
The American Legion

Arenzville Community Club
Arenzville, Illinois

                                May 12, 1947

Dear Friend:

How good is your memory?

You remember the dark years of the war, when for many of us every trip to the postoffice was fruitless unless it brought one of those familiar letters, stamped “FREE” in one corner, with a military address written in the other. And you remember when every trip to the depot saw some soldier or sailor bidding another reluctant goodbye to Arenzville and wondering when he’d see it again.

You remember those telegrams, too. And the blue stars in all the windows and the uniforms on all the streets.

Of course, you remember those things, but do you also remember the things we said then? We said, “You boys are giving up a lot for your home folks … you’re losing several years out of your lives that might be better spent at your life work and with your own families … you’re losing opportunities in business and farming … you’re losing your health, some of you … some of you have lost your lives and you’ve risked losing them.”

Yes, we said that, and more. We said “We’re going to make it up to you, fellows, show you how much you mean to us and how much we appreciate the sacrifices you’re making so that we can keep living a free country. When you come back home we’ll be glad to see  you and we’ll let you know it!”

Well, that’s what we told them, remember? We wrote that in our letters and we wrote it in the Town Tattler that the community of Arenzville sent the boys to keep them up on their home-town happenings. And we filed it away in our minds as an unwritten promise of a debt we owed.

And now we have a chance to prove just how much we meant all those promises. Our boys are back now, and most of them have organized into an American Legion post, together with their fellow veterans of World War I. They have big plans afoot to build a Legion Home, so they’ll have some place to hold their meetings. They’ve even offered to open it to other public-minded organizations when it is built. But they need help.

The Arenzville Community Club has decided, with not a single dissenting vote, as our minutes will show, to back them 100% in obtaining such help, and we want to invite you to join with us in giving full support to their current drive.

So when the Legion representative calls at your home or place of business, remember that our boys are back now, trying to forget all those things they lost, and they’re doing pretty well at picking up where they left off and going on.  They want to forget all the army routine and discipline and drill and the uniforms and the goodbyes and the trip overseas and the D-days and H-hours and the buddies they lost and how they missed seeing their kids take their first steps.  They want to forget a lot that happened during those years. Chances are they’d forget those promises we made them, too.

But we’re not going to. ARE WE?

Yours sincerely,
Edward Wessler, President
Arenzville Community Club


“I will gladly do my part.”

  • J.S. Batis

“We have done so little; they have done so much! This is our opportunity to prove our appreciation.”

  • Nelson C. Chasteen

“All for one; one for all. Let’s help the Legion.”

  • J.F. Thyen

“The entire community will benefit.”

  • J. H. Janssen

“A good way to show our appreciation to the boys who fought for us all would be to help them with their project 100%.”

  • Herman H. Wessler

“They did their best; now let’s do ours.”

  • J.A. Weeks

“We must maintain, support and improve our home community.”

  • “Ren” Burrus

“I am 100% behind our Legion.”

  • Walter Huey

“For the services you have rendered to the flag that is still flying – to the Veterans – you MUST be remembered.”

  • Conrad Hahling

“We must support the Legion just as we must expect they Legion to support and improve our home community.”

  • Roy Burrus

“Let us redeem our promises!”

  • Rev. G. A. Saatoff

“The boys were targets when they did their part. It will be perfectly safe to do ours. Support the Legion.”

  • Audace Herzberger

The webmaster and the Village of Arenzville wish to thank Ruby Clark Willingham for sending us a copy of these materials.

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© 2008, Molly Daniel. This page last updated 01/20/2008 .