Marion Post 298's history actually begins with a meeting of 15 individual veterans who signed an application for a charter on 21 October 1919. This application is how the numbers of posts are normally assigned; Marion was the 298th application. Spencer is Iowa's Post 1. On 14 November that application was forwarded by Iowa Headquarters, and on 19 November the post had its first meeting. We have those minutes. Our permanent charter didn’t arrive until 1 August 1920.
We have had 4 post members as mayor of Marion:
Vic Klopfenstein 1988-2003
John Nieland 2004-2008
Paul Rehn 2008-2012
Snooks Bouska 2012-2015
We have 19 living past post commanders Al Etzel is our senior, having commanded in 1967. His son, Mike, a retired Marion fireman and also a past post commander, was our state commander last year. We have had 92 post commanders. Several have done more than one year. Dick Hogan has done the most, with three. Commander Thompson is our 93rd post commander.
This Freedom Flame first shows up in minutes of the Park Board on Nov 1, 1968, when the idea was presented by Mr. Kreamer of the post. In February 1969 they got tentative approval and approval for the original open flame. The approval reads, “…granted request of Marion Post 298, The American Legion, to erect a Freedom Flame Memorial in honor of the Legion’s 50th Anniversary, in city park.” On 22 May the building permit was approved and the cost was estimated at $300. On May 29 the Marion Sentinel said work was progressing. I did not find the date of dedication.
Marion's mayor, Nicolas AbuAssaly, honored us in participating in the unveiling.
Here we stand today with the memorial spruced up by the Post Centennial Committee, and a new plaque affixed with the honoring of the 100th anniversary of the birth of The American legion.
We are a group of wartime veterans who continue to serve our community, state and nation. We are proud to be a part of and continue to support this community and all of its veterans. It is part of our vision for the next 100 years.