The History of the American legion
A group of 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I are the men who are credited with organizing The American Legion. The Expeditionary Forces headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt Jr., proposed an organization of Veterans. In February 1919, those officers formed a temporary committee and selected several hundred other officers who had the confidence and respect of the Army.
When the first organization meeting took place in Paris in March 1919, about 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended. The meeting, known as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary constitution and the name The American Legion.
The Legion held a second organizing caucus in St. Louis, Mo., in May 1919. It completed the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization of The American Legion. It set up temporary headquarters in New York City, and began its relief, employment, and patriotism programs.
The United States Congress granted The American Legion a national charter in September 1919. The first national convention, held in Minneapolis, adopted a permanent constitution and elected officers to head up the organization.
Until 1942, membership in the Legion was limited to American soldiers, sailors, marines, and nurses who had served on active duty during World War I. In 1942, the Legion amended its charter to allow World War II veterans to join the organization.
Korean War veterans became eligible in 1950, Vietnam War veterans in 1966, and Persian Gulf War veterans in 1991. Veterans of the actions in Grenada, Lebanon, and Panama became eligible in 1990.
The American Legion currently has about 3 million members that are organized into 58 departments and about 16,000 local posts. The American Legion holds a convention each year to determine policies and programs and to elect national officers, including a National Commander.
The National Adjutant heads the National Headquarters staff at 700 N. Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, IN 46206.
Since 1934, the Legion’s Washington offices have been located on K Street, three blocks from the White House. The original brownstone building was replaced by an office building dedicated on Aug. 14, 1951, by President Harry Truman. Four decades later, the building received a major renovation and was rededicated on Feb. 25, 1990, by then-VA Secretary Edward Derwinski.
Today the legion is involved in community projects, serves a social function in hundreds of small towns in the USA along with being a supporter of our military veterans. Consider joining if you are a veteran - you'll enjoy the experience.
Irondequoit American Legion Post #134 Copyright 2013 Web design by Bill Reger