Members of the American Legion family, which includes the American Legion, Auxiliary, riders, and Sons of the American Legion, from across the state met in Spearfish over the weekend to celebrate a century of service.

The 100th annual Department of South Dakota American Legion Convention began Thursday and lasted through Sunday, with various business meetings, annual reports, ceremonies, speakers, awards, banquets, elections, time for fellowship, and more at the Holiday Inn Spearfish-Convention Center.

Department Chaplain Larry Klumb provided an invocation Saturday during the American Legion business session Saturday.

Various elected officials and dignitaries addressed the convention, including U.S. Congresswoman Kristi Noem, who made the trip to Spearfish to speak. She voiced her pride and gratitude for all the American Legion Family does for the country, as well as for their continued advocacy for veterans. Noem also noted the importance of their mission in the long term.

“All the work that you do – I want you to know that I believe that you guys are the future. A lot of times, we look at veterans, and people want to honor them for their past service, and I do want to honor you for your past service, but what you’re doing and your investments today means that you’re preparing the future for our kids and grandkids who want to step up and serve in the military,” she said. “How we treat you and honor you for your previous service will determine their willingness to step up and volunteer, as well. We’re one of the few nations where our patriots still volunteer for service … Thank you for not only serving in the past but for continuing to be active in this very, very important organization that not only makes sure that we fight for our veterans every day but teaches the future generation about the value of serving and the honor of doing so.”

U.S. Sens. John Thune and Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), while not in attendance, sent video messages to the convention that were played during the session Saturday.

The American Legion celebrates is 100th anniversary in 2019; the organization was officially chartered and incorporated by the U.S. Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness, and, according to its website, a century later, the American Legion remains committed to mentoring youth, sponsoring programs in communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to U.S. military servicemembers and veterans.

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