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American Legion Emblem

American Legion Post 20

Bland, Virginia

An Excerpt from
The History of Bland County

( History of Bland County, Bland County Centennial Commission,  1961, p 445-446.)

Miller T. Burton Post No. 20, American Legion, was organized in 1928.  J. R. Stafford was the first commander; Rev. Clarence W. Taylor, adjutant; Herman E. Shufflebarger, treasurer; B. R. Nicewander, historian; W. H. Newberry, service officer;  and Z. L. Painter, news correspondent.  Other charter members included Hilary P. Marshall, Minor Muncy, C. H. Kitts, George Allen, George W. Greear, David N. Shufflebarger, Sam V. Burton and Tilden Lambert.

One of the major projects of the post was sponsoring Memorial Bridge across Crab Orchard Creek at Bland.  This is known was the World War Memorial Bridge.  It bears the following inscription:  “To the sacred memory of the men and women who participated in the World War.”  The bridge was sponsored by the Miller T. Burton post in conjunction with the Board of Supervisors of Bland County.  On the bridge is a name plaque listing 188 men and one woman from Bland County from Bland County who served in World War I.  The 12 men who were killed in action or died while in serve are represented by a star after their names.  This project was started in 1929 and completed in 1930.

In the early years, the post obtained from the U. S. Government 38 grave stones for deceased Confederate veterans as well as a great number for World War I, World War II, and the Korean veterans.

Over the period of years the post has given financial assistance to new churches that were under construction and assistance to local recreation projects for the youth of the county.  It has for several years sponsored junior baseball clubs in the county; has sponsored the Boy Scouts; has given financial assistance to the widows and orphans of deceased veterans and helped them to receive help from other sources.

For the youth of the county, the Miller T. Burton Post has constantly sponsored contestants in the Oratorical Contest, scholarships to Boys’ State and school award medals.  The post pays all expenses, including transportation, for one or more boys to Boys’ State for one week, where they are taught the elements of state and local organization of government.  The subjects used by speakers in the oratorical contests are taken from the Constitution of the United States.  The winner of each school is awarded a silver medal and the county winner is awarded a gold medal.  The county winner has a chance in the district contest and may continue on to the state and national contests with prizes amounting to several thousand dollars.

The American Legion School Award Medals are presented to one boy and one girl in each school annually for outstanding qualities of citizenship.  The boy who is the recipient of this medal must show outstanding courage, leadership, honor, scholarship and service.  The girl recipient is distinguished for courage, companionship, character, service, and scholarship.