The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization with a membership of 2.4 million men and women.
All veterans of honorable service during a wartime period, and those currently serving on active duty, are eligible to belong to The American Legion. Congress chartered The American Legion in 1919 as a veteran’s service organization. Since its founding, The American Legion has remained focused on activities that honor God and country.
The American Legion is also the most active veteran’s organization in striving to protect benefits earned by all veterans through honorable military service. The American Legion continues to fight for the full repeal of the Disabled Veterans Tax (sometimes called “Concurrent Receipt”), a strong veteran’s health care system and a strong quality of life for U.S. military members and their families.
As the war on terrorism continues, U.S. forces remain deployed in countries around the world. Today’s service members are some of the finest men and women ever to put on uniforms, yet they are over-deployed and under-paid. Working with the Commander-in-chief, Congress and the Department of Defense, the American Legion seeks to ensure that the military’s pay, benefits and force readiness needs are met.
Although The American Legion has an international presence, it is more than simply a veteran’s organization – it is very much a community-based service organization. Among the programs conducted regularly are community Veterans Day and Memorial Day observations, Blue Star Salutes honoring local military families and supportive businesses, American Legion Baseball, Junior Shooting Sports, a High School Oratorical Contest and American Legion Boys State and Nation. The American Legion is one of the nation’s largest supporters of Scouting and the largest single donor organization of blood to the American Red Cross. Members of local American Legion posts provide volunteer funeral details to render military honors for fallen comrades. The American Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation donates over a quarter of a million dollars each year to worthy children and youth programs. The American Legion’s National Emergency Fund provides immediate financial assistance to fellow Legionnaires and their families displaced by natural disasters. Legionnaires record over a million volunteer-hours annually in VA medical facilities throughout the nation and they reinvest millions of dollars back into local communities through cash donations.
The American Legion continues to provide gifts and recreational items to service members recovering in U.S. military hospitals and warrior transition units around the globe through Operation Comfort Warriors. Through “Heroes to Hometowns,” the Legion coordinates the transition of severely wounded soldiers back into civilian life in communities across the country. The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund enables the children of military members killed in action after Sept. 11, 2001 to receive a college education while its Family Support Network helps families of deployed service members.
The American Legion truly is a large organization of men and women who have stood to defend our nation in times of war and who continue to stand for a strong national defense in a changing world. These members steadfastly work to preserve the fabric of the United States of America.