The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.
The American Legion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grass-roots involvement in the legislation process from local districts to Capitol Hill. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Washington. The Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation’s veterans community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership.
In contrast to other veterans’ organizations, the Legion offers a number of local programs and activities to strengthen its commitment to our nation’s grass roots and the people we serve. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs; it continues to educate youths on the importance of sportsmanship and develops the quality of our country’s citizenship. The Heroes to Hometowns program is the only nationwide reintegration assistance service for wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. Additionally, millions of dollars in donations have been given to fellow veterans and their families in times of grief, and various scholarship opportunities ensure the future success of our youth.
The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation, and volunteerism. The organization belongs to the people it serves and the communities.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers, and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at over 2.4 million in 14,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.
Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. Following is a chronology of significant dates in Legion history.