Story and Photos by: Tim Sproles
The American Legion Department of Indiana has a lot to celebrate.
Along with commemorating 100 years of “Changing Lives” in the Hoosier Legion community, the Department recently completed much-needed repairs and updates to the Department Headquarters.
On June 30, A dedication celebration was held at the Department Headquarters, in Indianapolis to celebrate these achievements with the entire Legion Family and the local community.
The celebration featured the Sons of The American Legion Detachment of Indiana serving up free hamburgers and hot dogs, a State Police static display, Huey helicopter rides, a musical performance from Bob and Bobby Wiggins, and a dedication ceremony.
During the ceremony, the Department celebrated a new Department Headquarters sign, the unveiling of plaque dedicating the Sons of The American Legion Detachment of Indiana’s donation of the headquarters building’s flagpole display, newly installed columns that feature The American Legion’s “Four Pillars,” and the burial of a 25-year time capsule.
First of the improvements was the new sign. It was the special project of Past Department Commander, Marty Dzieglowicz, who began his effort after just being tired of seeing the old sign out front.
Dzieglowicz said, “When we moved our headquarters to Lawrence, we kept the sign that was left over from when the Lawrence Soccer Club owned this building. We simply covered it with a vinyl sign that said The American Legion Department of Indiana. It just didn’t adequately represent our organization.”
During his command year of 2017-2018, PDC Dzieglowicz campaigned across the state for donations to replace what had come to be known as an “eyesore.”
Dzieglowicz said, “Our entire Hoosier Legion Family played a part in making this project possible. It was a tumultuous undertaking, but with the assistance of our family and Department Staff we made this beautiful sign a reality.”
The next celebrated update was the columns of the building. Each of these repairs columns now are labeled with each of the “Four Pillars of The American Legion.”
Department Commander, Rodney Strong, said, “In 1919, The American Legion was founded on the four pillars of Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism and Children & Youth. They have held The American Legion high for over 100 years. When it came time to make repairs to our columns, the decision was made to put these pillars on display on each of our new columns to act as a daily reminder to Legionnaires, veterans and fellow Hoosiers what The American Legion is here for.”
Next was the dedication of the Department Headquarters flagpole display plaque.
The display was donated by the Indiana Sons of The American Legion Detachment when the building was officially opened as the Department’s new headquarters on Sept. 7, 2014. On that day, Past Sons of The American Legion Detachment Commander Ron Sexton unveiled a plaque dedicating this flag display to the Department.
During his command year of 2014-2015, Ron made this flag display his project. He campaigned throughout the year and across the state and eventually raised the money to have it purchased and installed.
Commander Strong said, “We would love nothing more than for Ron to be here with us to unveil the mounted plaque, but unfortunately, Ron died Thursday, June 13. Only 18 days before the unveiling of the mounted plaque.”
Commander of the S.A.L. Detachment of Indiana, Doug Heiser, said, “Ron was an absolute visionary. This flagpole set is the perfect example of Ron seeing a need and making it happen.”
Commander Strong said that he hopes the plaque will forever show both the support of our Sons of The American Legion Detachment has given and continues to give to The American Legion Department of Indiana, but also the dedication of Past Commander Sexton to the Sons of The American Legion.
He said, “We take a lot of pride in this display. It’s the first thing that pops out to you when you turn on to our street and it remains a perfect representation of our American Legion family. Standing tall and standing together.”
The final dedication of the afternoon was the sealing and burial of a 25-year time capsule. The capsule was filled to the brim with items from the entire Hoosier Legion Family as well as other items of historical significance.
After the final items were hand-placed by Past National Commander of The American Legion, Jim Koutz, the capsule was sealed and buried outside of the entrance to headquarters.
Cmdr. Strong said, “I hope these symbols that we dedicated today continue to serve as a beacon to welcome any who seek our assistance.”
The Department time capsule is scheduled to be exhumed on June 30, 2044.
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