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O'Neill Legion Post Name Sake Flag Returned

May 29, 2024 (0)


The O'Neill American Legion Post 93 of O'Neill recently had their namesake's burial flag donated back to the post. The family of Simonson has dwindled in size and thought that the flag would best be served by giving it back to the O'Neill Post.

Gaylor Thomas Simonson for which the post is named after was born on Aug. 22, 1895 in O'Neill. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Loren Simonson. He grew up in the Shields Township north of O'Neill and was living there on a farm when he registered for the military draft on June 5 1917.

Private Gaylor T. Simonson served in the 32nd Division of the American Expeditionary Force. He was assigned to Company C of the 128th Infantry. He received wounds in or around the village Chateay-Thierry, France and died on Sept.1 1918. He was the first O'Neill soldier to die in the war.

The body of Gaylor Simonson was brought back to O'Neill in 1921 accompanied by a soldier from Fort Crook. A delegation of members of the  of the local post of the American Legion, which was named in the honor of the deceased, was at the train depot and escorted the remains to Biglins undertaking parlors where the body remained until 10 o'clock in the morning. 

The funeral services were held on the afternoon of May, 19 1921 from the residence of his parents in the western part of the city. The funeral was a military one and was in charge of the local post of the American Legion. About 100 members of the post were out in uniform and under the command of Lieutenant Golden marched from their club rooms to the residence at 1:30 and headed the funeral procession to the K.C. Hall where public services were held. Rev Stiener of the Methodist Church delivered the address. At the conclusion of the service the legion marched to the cemetery for conclusion of the one of the largest services the city had seen. 

The American Legion Post in O'Neill was organized on Oct. 21st 1919. Two years later the post officially became known as Simonson Post #93 in honor of the Simonson's passing.


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