— By BRIAN SMITH
Weatherford American Legion Post 163 held dedications for its new post location and adjacent flagpole during ceremonies Friday morning.
The post, now located at 200 Cartwright Park Road, was previously located on Eureka Drive. Post members had been trying to raise money to move the post to a new location for a number of years. First Vice Commander Brett Johnson, who has been with the post for five years, said after working with local real estate agent Jamie Bodiford-Brinkley, the land was purchased and construction began on the more than 5,500-square-foot facility.
Bodiford’s father, James Hudson Bodiford, a former Legion and VFW commander and civic leader, was co-honored with the dedication of a flagpole along with former Post 163 Commander, U.S. Speaker of the House and Weatherford Mayor Jim Wright. The two men became best friends and neighbors over the years. A metal placard honoring the two men and their accomplishments has been ordered and will be placed at the flagpole.
In his keynote remarks, Wright said the Legion has encountered its hardships and difficulties over the years but was pleased about the new location.
“This is the best American Legion post I’ve ever seen,” Wright said. “I’m grateful for the site and the people that were involved in it. I salute you and congratulate you for your efforts.”
Before the ribbon cutting, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Gazzola said the facility was beautiful and provided veterans a place to come and congregate.
Members of the post and ladies auxiliary, county and chamber officials took part in the ceremony. County Judge Mark Riley, himself wearing a U.S. flag-adorned shirt, said having the dedication on Flag Day was only fitting.
Riley said our personal liberties are being attacked daily, both from outside interests and from within. The military defending our liberties makes him proud to be an American. The proud history of the military is something that needs to be passed on to future generations.
“Passing the future along is something that’s so important to me,” Riley said. “We all need to make sure this generation isn’t forgotten. If we don’t work at keeping our liberties, we will for certain lose them.”
Post Chaplain Chuck Katlic said the dedication was a “special day for the legion.” He asked God to continue to “allow the post and the legion to continue to prosper.”
After the ribbon cutting, a dedication for the new flagpole was held. A U.S. flag that flew over the former location was raised to fly one last time and then lowered and retired before a new flag was raised to fly over the venue.