Giles B. Cook, a respected citizen of Front Royal/Warren County, served American Legion Post 53 as its Chaplain, Vice Commander and Commander during its early formative years. He entered the military service as a Major (Surgeon) with the First Virginia Infantry and served on the Mexican Border.
In October 1917, he was transferred to the 116th Infantry as Regimental Surgeon and served overseas in that capacity. Mustered out of the Federal service in 1919, he was appointed Surgeon of the 110th Infantry, Virginia National Guard, the position he held until 1923 when he was transferred to the Virginia National Guard Reserve in the grade of Lieutenant Colonel. American Legion Post 53 was named for him in grateful appreciation. The Warren Post No. 53 of the American Legion was officially organized on September 24, 1919, about six months after the American Legion was founded in Paris. The following officers were elected for Post 53: Hugh O. Miller, Post adjutant; Dr. Giles B. Cook, finance officer. This Post made very little progress and was almost out of existence until it was revived early in 1923 when new officers were elected. During the period from February 6, 1923 to December 31, 1923, the Post was very successful in every undertaking including entertainment at the local opera house, furnishing boxing bouts at several meetings, worked out by-laws for the Post, secured temporary quarters for the Post at the headquarters of the Ninety-first Brigade, and started on forming an Auxiliary. The membership increased during this period to sixty-four members.
In 1924, the Post secured a meeting hall, as temporary quarters in the Buck building; purchased a silk United States flag and Legion banner; started a fund to go towards building a permanent home for the Post, had several real good entertainments including a carnival in Front Royal; sold poppies on Poppy Day; sold refreshments at the Remount Horse Show; attended services at different churches in a body; joined the Confederate veterans in their memorial services to their dead, and held memorial services for our dead each year, and donated the sum of $100.00 to the Front Royal Fire Departments towards helping them secure equipment. The post helped veterans making applications for bonuses and also provided programs for children and Boy Scouts in Front Royal.
This was the beginning!
Today, Post 53 continues to serve our veterans, their families and our community. Post 53 supports our veterans at Martinsburg VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, WV, assists local veterans in our community, hosts the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Warren County Courthouse and supports the annual Warren County Memorial Day Observance. Some of our local support activities include supporting the Warren County DARE program, providing scholarships for Skyline and Warren County High Schools, sponsoring delegates to Virginia American Legion Boys State, sponsoring the Post 53 American Legion Baseball Team, and sponsoring the Front Royal Post 53 American Legion Band. Post 53’s activities change over time to support the needs of the Front Royal and Warren County communities.