Thursday, May 30, 2024

Columbia Post 97 hosts International Gavel Passing

Next year in Canada


BREWSTER – The American Legion Columbia Post 97 welcomed representatives of the Royal Canadian Legion Enderby Branch 98 over the weekend of Sept. 8-10 for the International Gavel Passing Ceremony at Post 97 headquarters, 102 N. Third Street. The ritual is observed annually by the two organizations to honor comrades present and passed.

The three-day event was a mix of solemn memorial with laying of wreaths at the all-branches monument in Legion Park and light-hearted activities. The Hawaiian-themed event featured live entertainment, auctions, games, a parade, King and Queen contest, good food, and more. Speakers included Post 97 Commander Greg Wagg, Brewster Mayor Art Smyth, and Ninth District Commander Jim Brakebill.

The gavel passing dates from the mid-20th Century when veterans from Columbia Post 97 and Enderby Branch 98 came together to remember comrades and have some fun along the way. The ceremony alternates locations every year, so the Canadians will host in 2024.

The Post 97 Color Guard appears at area schools on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. The Legion puts up and takes down more than 200 American flags at Locust Grove Cemetery for Memorial Day observance and holds ceremonies at five area cemeteries. The Legion Riders motorcycle team escorts the caskets of veterans and is present at graveside services for vets.

“If we know about a veteran returning home from deployment, we meet them along the way and escort them home,” said Legion member and Brewster city councilman Glenn Farrington

 Last August the Color Guard was present at a special headstone dedication for a Union veteran of the Civil War buried in the Methow Cemetery.
The Legion does behind-the-scenes work as well including scholarships for high school seniors and Girls and Boys State, a citizenship program based around a yearly mock legislative session. Local Legion volunteers have built wheelchair ramps and help veterans who need transportation to medical appointments.

Thursday Bingo Nights have become a popular fixture at Post 97.

To learn more about Columbia Post 97 visit American Legion Columbia Post 97 on Facebook.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483,




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