After the Allied victory in World War II, a feeling of patriotism and gratitude swept the country. One such show of national pride came in the form of volunteer drum and bugle corps assembled by many American Legion posts.
Samuel S. Crouse Post 181 in Somerset, Pennsylvania, had one of the very best, the Crouse Cadets. The Cadets captured three state Class C Championships and went on to compete for the national championships in New York City. They were called “The Pride of Somerset.” The Post has honored this corps with a beautiful display.
"Some of us were sitting around at the Legion and talking to the younger people who are members," said John Coleman. "They never heard of them. We had some instruments and artifacts from the group, and many photos and newspaper clippings. We decided to do this, so the group won't be forgotten."
"The display is the result of a labor of love that took over a year to assemble," said his cousin, Jerry Coleman. "It harkens to a glorious happy era when patriotism and love of country were second nature. It would have all been lost in the midst of time but not for this." The display was donated by the Vernon C. and C. Telford Coleman families in partnership with Post 181 Sons of the American Legion, with thanks to The American Legion for their cooperation.
The centerpiece of the display features a touchscreen kiosk that plays a video with sound of the championship corps actually marching to their own music. An unknown fan recorded a concert at the Legion in 1951 and a few souvenir records were pressed from it. A copy of the old record turned up by chance in 2016 at the home of the wife of a member, which she donated. "My mother had taken some silent 8mm films of them marching, and we combined the two. It is a minor miracle that both the old reels and a copy of the record survived the years," Jerry Coleman said. "In our view, it’s a sign that this memorial was meant to be."
The group was made up almost entirely of veterans who had served in the conflict. "They were all unpaid volunteers, and most of them never played an instrument before much less marched in military parade formation while doing so. The countless hours of hard work and dedication that these young people and their instructors devoted is hard to imagine," Coleman said. "While concert drum and bugle corps still perform today, the great patriotic marching corps of yesteryear will always hold the dearest place in our hearts." Open to the public!