A local American Legion post is remembering its namesake with a weekend of events commemorating the end of World War I.
Samuel Young American Legion Post #620 in Pelham Bay will be hosting the events on Saturday, October 6 and Sunday, October 7 commemorating the end of World War I and founding of the American Legion.
It culminates in a rededication of the post at 3 p.m. on October 7.
The post will observe the occasion with several audio visual displays highlighting different aspects of the war, film screenings, World War I re-enactors and a professional actor reading handwritten letters that the post’s namesake, Samuel Young, wrote home when he was in training and while he journeyed to the front lines in Europe, according to legionnaire Joseph Mondello, who is a member of Throggs Neck’s Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253.
“He was a neighborhood kid who ended up going over there along with another neighborhood kid, who the Theodore Korony Post is named after, and who was also killed in the same battle,” said Owen Mangan, Samuel Young Post commander, a United States Marine Corp veteran.
Samuel Young was wounded and died in France on October 3, 2018.
The one hundred-year remembrance of the war’s end in November 1918 and the founding of the American Legion in 1919 will begin at the post’s building at 1530 Hutchinson River Parkway with the screening of a classic film about World War I, Johnny Got His Gun, on a large 15-foot screen at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 5.
Another film about ‘The Great War,’ All Quiet on the Western Front, will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, October 6.
Exhibits will be ongoing from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
The exact schedule of some of the events is still being planned, while others have been firmed up, said Mangan.
As part of the festivities, actor Alex Morf, a professional actor who was in a play about World War I called War Horse, will read the letters Samuel Young wrote home to his family and friends at 6 p.m. on October 7.
Morf said that he is preparing for his role by reviewing the letters, where he said that Young’s New York roots are evident in his language and colloquialisms, which are typical of someone from the city at that time.
“You can hear New York in the way he writes,” said Morf, who has also taken part in Theater of War, an initiative by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York City Department of Veterans Affairs to bring classical plays that address public health issues to public places.
Morf said he believes that the best way to understand history is to personalize it and learn more about the people who lived in the past as they were as individuals, rather than seeing them as figures.
“One of the cool things about what I do for a living is you get to humanize the things that happened in the past in a way that allows people to see them with fresh eyes, and I always appreciate a chance to get to do that,” said Morf.