Franklin’s Edward L. Grant American Legion Post 75 Turns Post Recognized on First Purple Heart Day, August 7, 2020Sep 02, 2020 10:56AM ● By J.D. O’Gara
On August 7th, 2020, the Town of Franklin celebrated its Purple Heart recipients for the first time. No small part of that ceremony was the recognition of the centennial of the Edward L. Grant American Legion Post 75, which participated in the ceremony. The national organization (www.legion.org) began as “a patriotic veterans’ organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.” This helpfulness included supporting and sponsoring youth programs, promoting patriotism and honor and continued devotion to fellow service members and veterans. Today there are over two million members in more than 13,000 posts around the world. In Franklin, the post has 82 members, most from the towns of Franklin, Bellingham and Medway. The diverse membership encompasses all branches of service, including The US Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard and service from WWII up through the Global War on Terrorism. “Right now, our monthly meetings have been postponed due toCOVID-19, but meetings are normally on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Franklin Cable Access TV Station at 23 Hutchinson Street, Franklin,” says Legionnaire Kimberley Leone. Members of the American Legion are veterans who’ve pledged service to the community. Recently, eligibility requirements have changed and currently the eligibility requirements are: • Veterans who have served federal active duty in the United States Armed Forces since December 7, 1941, and have been honorably discharged or are still serving honorably. • U.S. Merchant Marine eligible only from December 7, 1941 to December 31, 1946 (WWII). Applications can be found on the Post 75 website, www.mapost75.com. Despite some activities this year having been suspended due to COVID-19, the Franklin American Legion has still been active this year. “We haven’t been able to accomplish very many of our normal activities which normally include the following, writes Leone: 1) Our quarterly visits to the Brockton VA Hospital where we host game nights and provide snacks and deliver donations of toiletries, t-shirts, ear buds or other needed items 2) Honor guards at the wakes and funerals for local veterans who pass away. 3) Sponsorship of an American Legion Baseball Team in Franklin. 4) Color Guard and Rifle Squad and our annual poppy drive at the Franklin Memorial Day Parade. 5) Our Annual Scholarship Road Race normally held in June at the Remington/Jefferson School in Franklin. 6)Monthly visits to the four senior living facilities in Franklin - Magnolia Heights, Enclave, Benchmark Senior Living and Cedarwood Gardens. 7) Our annual fundraising raffle. And more. Leone explains that, thanks to a good rapport with Franklin’s Veterans Service Officer, Dale Kurtz, Legionnaires are usually quick to jump in and help whenever there’s a need for volunteers or assistance locally. “Since we were unable to participate in Memorial Day activities this year per usual – we did join in this year on placing flags at the graves of all Veterans at the three Franklin cemeteries,” says Leone. “We were very pleased to be able to participate in the Purple Heart Ceremony, and we hope that we might be able to participate in the Wreaths Across America event in December at the Bourne National Cemetery - another one of our favorite events each year.” Post 75 was named for Franklin native, Edward L. Grant. According to a biography of Grant undertaken by veteran Natalee Webb, Grant was the son of a Franklin contractor who helped build Victorian houses that still stand today in town. Known as “Harvard” Eddie Grant, the Major League ball player “was born and educated in Franklin including attendance at Dean Academy (Dean College).” Later, he earned a law degree from Harvard University, where he played baseball and basketball. After college, he spent ten years in the major leagues, after which Grant practiced law in Boston. He left his practice to attend a military training camp in Plattsburgh, New York, among the first to enlist when America entered World War I in April of 1917. He was appointed Captain of Company H of the 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF). The following year, Grant was assigned to the greatest American battle of WWI, the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France. He found himself in charge of a rescue mission for a “Lost Battalion,” an Army Division of 463 men who had been ensnared by the enemy, and moving forward with the mission was killed by mortar shells as he shouted for others to take cover. Grant became the first Major League Baseball player to be killed in action. To learn more about Franklin American Legion Edward L. Grant Post 75, visit www.mapost75.com.