In 1919 St. Louis was the birthplace of the American Legion after WW I. The organization lobbies governments for veterans benefits and offers services to veterans as well as a place to gather and trade stories.
After WW I, “Last Man’s Clubs” brought together surviving members of military units once a year for reunions where the participants could remember their comrades and memorialize friends who had passed away during the year. The clubs set aside a special bottle of champagne or cognac that was to be opened by the last two surviving members who would drink a toast.
A number of special plaques are on display in a “Court of Honor” at the historical Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis. In the 1920s a group of Gold Star mothers — who had lost a child in the Great War — honored the fallen by setting up a bronze plaque for each service member. The memorials were erected in the median of Kingshighway Boulevard. Unfortunately, highway construction impeded on the outdoor memorial, but American Legion members were able to recover many of the plaques.
Fort Belle Fontaine established in 1805 was the first American military output west of the Mississippi River. It became a key facility during the War of 1812 when the British hired Indian tribes to harass the young nation. The Missouri Territorial Rangers provided their own weapons and horses but received federal pay for scouting and skirmishing with the Indians, including famed Sauk chief Black Hawk. Two sons of famous American frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Daniel Morgan led ranger companies.