The American Legion was chartered by Congress in March 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization, and the Cambridge post dates back to that time.
Focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.
Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth.
“The Cambridge post goes back to the very beginning,” said Lance Allen Wang, a past commander of the post. “At the time the post was formed, we still had an active Grand Army of the Republic post made up of Civil War veterans in Cambridge.”
“Our offices were on the ground floor of the old Cambridge Hotel.” Wang referenced a photo of the group: “Some of the members in that photo were still wearing their First World War uniforms.”
Cambridge’s post was named for Earl W. Maxson, a Berlin, New York, native who married into the famous Rice family of Cambridge. Maxson was deployed with the New York National Guard’s 105th Infantry and was killed in action near Bony, France, on Sept. 29, 1918.
Currently, Cambridge’s Captain Maxson Post 634 has some 200 members. “The number of members is great for a rural post,” said Wang.
The American Legion has a large presence in Cambridge. In addition to the Legion, the community has a very active American Legion Auxiliary, a Sons of the American Legion chapter for men whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for membership and, as of the end of 2017, a Legion Riders chapter for motorcycle enthusiasts named for Sergeant Frederick Mausert III, a native of Cambridge who earned the Medal of Honor during the Korean War.
“The Riders followed the caisson at the Cambridge Memorial Day parade last year. It was an exciting and very kinetic part of the parade,” said Wang, who is a member of the Riders.
In addition to sponsoring the annual Memorial Day parade, a Veterans Day commemoration in Memorial Park, and a popular Flag Day event at the Cambridge school where Legion members teach flag etiquette, the post hosts an all-you-can-eat breakfast on the first Sunday of the month from October to June and Monday night Bingo. The post is available for community events, too.
For more information about the American Legion, or to become a member, call 518-677-8069 or visit www.captainmaxsonpost634.org.
American Legion Captain Maxson Post 634 is located at 2106 State Route 22, Cambridge, New York.