Folks celebrate 100 years of American Legion with drive up Highway 281


WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The American Legion was founded and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.

A hundred years is a long time and 1,875 miles is a long way. That’s how The American Legion is celebrating its centennial, a drive up Highway 281.

“When they first dedicated Highway 281 a group of veterans got together and they did the same thing we’re doing, one went to Canada and one group went to Mexico, they were in cars, they met in Great Bend Kansas so we’re doing the same thing they did, only we’re doing it on motorcycles,” American Legion National Vice Commander Steve Sweet said.

Six state departments between the Canada and Mexican borders are organizing the trek. The American Legion Texas commander witnessed the rider’s arrival in Wichita Falls.

“It feels great, they’re out there doing what they like to do and they’re doing what American Legion needs them to do,” Texas Commander Jeff Perkins said.

The group left Wednesday from Pharr, Texas and are set to arrive Sunday at their final destination in Great Bend Kansas.

“Letting them sign this banner and give them a 100-year certificate and then when we get to Great Bend, we’re gonna put those two banners together and hold a ceremony there,” Sweet said.

While the drive is long, American Legion officials are proud to do it, and so far they’ve been greeted with flags and cheers.

“It touches your heart when you see stuff like that cause everybody says patriotisms dead but it’s out there, you just have to find it.,” Sweet said.

With 100 under its belt, the organization may go on for another 100.

“As far as the future we can see, The American Legions gonna be needed,” Sweet said.

“It’s good to know we’ve been here for 100 years and hopefully we’ll be here for another 100 years taking care of our veterans, taking care of the families,” Perkins said.

With a lot of road behind them, the riders leave Wichita Falls ready for the road ahead.

Family members are invited to meet riders at their stops. You can find each location here.

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