The American Legion
Disney-Bell Post No. 66
In the late 20's and early 30's the WWI Veterans were
having very hard times. In Bowie many had been gassed and wounded in WWI.
There were no VA hospitals, no bonus, no compensation, plus the depression.
Some were unable to do manual work. Things were hard for them. The Bonus
Bill was vetoed, the Bonus Marchers were run out of Washington, D.C. by the
military. But something was learned -promises to veterans are soon forgotten
in peace time. Marching and rioting gets you no where, but turns the
It was soon learned by our Bowie Vets, the way was through
proper channels -Congressmen, Senators and the President. The American
Legion was founded March 15, 1919 in Paris, France and was having some
success, but it did not have the membership to be heard loud and clear, so
the National Organization was out recruiting. It took 15 wartime Veterans to
form a local Post, so the Bowie Veterans recruited the necessary 15 locally,
and a temporary Charter was granted February 20, 1932 to Bowie Post #66. It
was the 66th Post formed in Maryland.
The first meetings were held in the members' homes, then
the I.O.O.F. Hall, then Aaron's Lunch Room and then the Bowie School (which
is now Huntington Community Center). In 1948, they were granted 7.6. acres
from the Department of Interior by an act of Congress - last bill passed and
sponsored by Senator Butler.
Day rooms from Ft. Belvoir were dismantled, moved to the
site on Bowie-Laurel Road and reassembled. Over the years these buildings
were replaced by what is now being used.
The name of the Post was changed after WWII, naming it
after the first man killed from the Bowie area in WWI, William Aubrey
Disney, and the first killed from the Bowie, area in WWII, Sylvester Bell, -
thus the name Disney-Bell.
In December 1941 a meeting was held at the home of Ora
Overholser for the formation of an Auxiliary Unit to Post 66. Due to the
wartime rationing, this was put on hold. The ladies continued to assist the
Post in all their activities however, and Disney-Bell Unit #66, American
Legion Auxiliary was finally chartered in June 1944.
WILMER AUBREY DISNEY
Private Disney, son of Mr. and Mrs. C. J. Disney, of
Bowie, Prince George's county, died in France on November 20, 1918, of wounds
received in action. He was a member of the First Maryland Ambulance Corps.
later known as the One Hundred and Thirteenth Ambulance Corps, on which he
enlisted in June of 1917
SYLVESTER CARROL BELL Jr.
Sylvester Carrol Bell, Jr., from Bowie, was a member of
the U. S. Navy, was Radioman 3c. He was lost in the Coral Sea Battle of
World War II