Welcome To Jeff Davis Post 18
CENTREVILLE — As motorists drive past the Centreville American Legion, Jeff Davis Post 18, the new look of the exterior of the building is sure to catch their eyes. The building, originally constructed in the early 1950s, has impressive images in a new mural of azure blue skies, symbolic cornfields, waving American, Maryland and POW/MIA flags, and a progression line of both male and female military personnel from wars starting with World War 1 through most recent conflicts. Spotlights even enhance the images at night.
“The post was in need of a new coat of paint, however, we didn’t think just putting another coat of white paint would do it justice. We wanted something that would get attention and express what we represent,” said Post Commander Vince Higgins.
The mural is the creation of local artist Will Hemsley of Centreville, who was heartily endorsed by the Post as “the right man for the job!”
“Will was enthusiastically approved by our executive board,” Higgins said.
Hemsley said, “I wanted to produce a picture that not only honors the legacy of those who served our nation, but also draw attention to the work that this post does for veterans, and the community of Centreville.”
“The mural is certainly an attention-grabber, beginning with the Maryland flag flowing in the wind, along with each of the Armed Forces service emblems. This rolls to the front of the building into the American flag which proudly waves. Also on the front portion are service member silhouettes marching quietly through the battlefields of history. Our nation’s colors then transition into the POW/MIA flag which mournfully flies over the graves of Arlington. If you look closely there is only one true portrait on the front of the building, it is a portrait of our namesake, Jeff Davis,” said Ken “Radar” Huddleston, Secretary/Historian, American Legion Riders, who served on the executive committee.
Post Historian Robert Montenegro said, “We want people to learn more about the Legion.” He presented a number of interesting facts about the national American Legion. There more overall 15,000 active posts, located not only in the U.S., but also France and Mexico, the Phillippines and Puerto Rico. There are some 3 million members. The Legion’s No. 1 mission is to see that veterans and their families are taken care of.
In Maryland, there are 137 active posts located within the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City.
Immediately after World War 1, the American Legion was founded as a national veterans organization in 1919. The same year, Post 18 was organized in Centreville and first known as the Queen Anne’s County Post. However, in 1921, the post was renamed in honor of county resident Jeff Davis who was the first county resident to die in France during WW1. Davis was 26 when he died. Since 1921, it has been known as Jeff Davis Post 18. The post was officially chartered in 1930.
Davis’ likeness is highlighted on the front left corner of the buillding. He is dressed in a WW1 military uniform and posed as a standing sentry near the side entrance door of the post. That’s where the timeline of the mural begins, traveling around the front of the building and ending on the north side wall with a POW/MIA flag and symbols of Arlington National Cemetery. The silhouettes of the soldiers all appear to be coming out of the cornfields representing their homes in Queen Anne’s County. The symbolism in the mural takes into account many different views of service to the nation, state and community.
Jeff Davis enlisted in the Army in September 1917. His service was brief; he paid the price for liberty within the year. On July 25, 1918, he was counted among the fallen. His remains were returned home in fall 1921.
“Jeff Davis was the first, but not the last, Queen Anne’s County service member killed in action. It is our hope that all those that take the time to stop and walk around the building not only admire the art of William Hemsley, but understand the gravity of the sacrifice made by those who have served,” Huddleston said.
The mural also reflects the work of the American Legion Jeff Davis Post 18 as it continues to serve the nation, our veterans and the community.
In 2016, the Post donated more than $80,000 to veterans causes and to the community in general. Qualifications for donations from the Legion is that organizations must have 501(c)3 status.
Hemsley’s ties to Queen Anne’s County go all the way back to the Revolutionary War, as his distant relative owned the Wye Grist Mill and the products from there were used to feed General George Washington’s army. His grandfather, William Tilghman Hemsley III, served during the Korean War in the early 1950s. Hemsley has an art gallery at 100 N. Liberty St., in downtown Centreville, with many different works of art he has done, including statues.
At Post 18, Higgins credited “the Legion members, Sons of the American Legion, Legion Riders, Women’s Auxiliary and the Marine Corps League” as those most responsible for seeing the mural done.
“We encourage the community to view the mural and the many artifacts from the conflicts represented here and exhibited in our hall,” Higgins said.
Anyone interested in touring the Centreville Legion may call 410-758-3584 to make an appointment.
POST 18 MURAL COMMING SOON!
Jeff Davis Post 18 Shares WWII History With Our Community
CENTREVILLE — A special presentation was held at the December general membership meeting at the Centreville American Legion Post 18. Sons of the American Legion member Robert J. Koenke of Centreville presented a framed certificate signed by the late Lt. Colonel James “Jimmy” Doolittle, who flew the first bombing missions in early 1942 against the Japanese, just weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, which brought the U.S. into World War II. Please read the whole artical, click on: http://www.myeasternshoremd.com/qa/spotlight/article_c4befdbf-bbf2-54a1-8825-625ba2d49db9.html
Since our charter in (1930), our American Legion Post has been welcoming VETERANS from all branches of our Armed Forces. Today, we continue to welcome all military personnel serving our country. Joining our Post enables you to continue serving your God, Country and Community. Our mission is to implement the goals, aspirations, dreams, peace and blessings for our country, friends and families embodied in our preamble below.
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