The American Legion Centennial – 100 years old
The American Legion was founded March 17-19 1919. Members of the Expeditionary Forces still stationed in Europe were waiting for their turn to head home after the War. Many of the officers realized how the United States was very unprepared to help with the flow of disabled Veterans about to return to the States. An uncertain future and unemployment also awaited them. These officers would go on to become founders of the American Legion. The mission would be to strengthen the nation with advocacy, services, and programs to help current and future Veterans.
The American Legion has made significant achievements during its 100 years in existence. Here are some:
- Campaigned to have all Veterans services put under one federal authority, the Veterans Bureau in 1921. This agency was the predecessor of the Veterans Administration, formed in 1930.
- Drafted, promoted and actively pushed passage of The Servicemen's Readjustment act of 1944. This is the original GI Bill that transformed the lives and the economy of a post WWII United States.
- Called for a separate branch of service based on aeronautics as early as 1919. This helped pave the way to the creation of the U.S. Air Force in 1947
- In 1942, started The American Legion Blood Donor Program. This program became the largest organizational blood donor to the Red Cross.
- The American Legion Boys State program began in Illinois in 1935. The goal of this program was to counter communist-inspired youth camps in the United States. Teaching the way government operated in a representative republic, the program went national in 1946 as American Legion Boys Nation. Today, each state still provides a Boys State program.
- Launched American Legion Baseball in 1925. Thousands of young men have fielded teams in the last 100 years in this program which promotes citizenship through sportsmanship.
- In 1920, the Legion took a lead role in the establishment of formal observation of Memorial Day at the graves of U.S. Military personnel.
There are so many more accomplishments / achievements by the American Legion than can be listed here. The American Legion is the largest Veteran's organization in the world. The legacy built with the vision to make the Nation stronger, prouder, and more respectful of those who have served in the defense of this nation will continue into the next 100 years.
For a more complete review of Legion achievements click here.
If you are a member of the American Legion and belong to a Centennial Post, you can proudly display to everyone with a Centennial Post t-shirt.