19 Mar Junior Service League celebrating 70th anniversary
By Jeff Fox of the Examiner
The Junior Service League of Independence is ready for a packed house to celebrate a big birthday and to honor area veterans.
“We are at capacity for the hall,” said Laurie Dean Wiley, event coordinator for Friday’s 70th anniversary event at American Legion Post 21 at 16701 East U.S. 40.
The group has close ties to Harry Truman, and 2015 is also the 70th anniversary of several Truman events. Chiefly, it was April 12, 1945, that Truman became president.
To honor that connection, the group plans a USO-styled event. In “1945 – A Night at the Truman Canteen,” entertainers Harry Huff and Kent French will sing and talk about events from that year, when World War II ended. Also, some longtime members of the Junior Service League will display photos of family members who served in the war.
The first docents at the Truman Library in Independence were Junior Service League members, and the former president trained them himself.
“He had a large part in forming Junior Service League,” Wiley said.
Junior Service League members continue to give their time and money to a variety of local efforts. Over the years, they have helped save the 1859 Jail on the Independence Square, helped get the Hope House domestic violence shelter going, and given seed money for the formation of the Child Abuse Prevention Association.
“That legacy is still here today,” Wiley said. “That’s what we do every month.”
Friday’s event, with 335 people signed up, is the largest in the group’s history, Wiley said. There’s a color guard presentation at 7:15 p.m., followed by a recognition of veterans and active service personnel, then a history of the Truman Library and the Junior Service League, and then the USO-themed show.