American Legion Post in Mexico City Bridges Countries, Cultures
American Legion Post In Mexico (Luis Cotto-Vasallo/Legion Post)
MEXICO CITY – Deep in the heart of Mexico City, the American Legion post serves as a home away from home for U.S. veteran expats and doubles as an unofficial center for people-to-people diplomacy.
The post’s members sponsor three schools here, including one whose students wear red, white and blue uniforms.
One of the world’s oldest American Legion posts, first chartered in 1920, it was recently renovated and formally reopened this month in the fashionable Condesa district in a building that houses upstairs an American-style bar and restaurant, as well as the city’s only second-hand English language bookstore.
The spot’s official name is “Alan Seeger Post II,” named after a young American poet who volunteered for the French Foreign Legion and was killed at the battle of the Somme in 1916.
“For me, what we do here is about American ‘soft power,’” said Grant Badger, using a term that denotes exerting influence by good example. The post’s commander, Luis Cotto-Vasallo, echoed the sentiment.
“We can defuse some of the stereotypes of Americans seen in the movies” by reaching out to the Mexican community as good neighbors, he said.
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