SIGNIFICANT DATES IN THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
Month & Day
|March 15-17||1919|| The American Legion is founded in Paris by members of the |
American Expeditionary Force.
|September 16||1919||The U S. Congress charters The American Legion.|
|November 10-12||1919|| First national convention of The American Legion convenes in |
Minneapolis, Minn. Organization's Constitution and Preamble
are adopted. Resolution adopted supporting the Boy Scouts
of American as first youth program.
|August 9||1921|| U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of the Veterans Administration, |
is created as a result of efforts by The American Legion.
|June 15||1923|| First "Flag Code" is drafted during conference called by The |
American Legion. Congress adopted the code in 1942.
|July 17||1925||American Legion Baseball program is created.|
|June 23||1935||First American Legion Boys State convenes in Springfield, Ill.|
|June 1||1938|| First American Legion National High School Oratorical Championship |
held in Norman, Okla.
|September 19-21||1942|| Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion is changed for |
the first and only time since it was written in 1919. The word "War" is
changed to "Wars."
|December 15||1943|| Harry W. Colmery, past national commander of The American Legion, |
writes in longhand on hotel stationery the first draft of what will become the
"GI Bill of Rights."
|June 22||1944||President Franklin Roosevelt signs The GI Bill into law.|
|May 29||1946|| A $50,000 grant from the American Legion and the American Legion |
Auxiliary is presented to a small, struggling organization - the American
Heart Association - to inaugurate a nationwide program for the study,
prevention and treatment of rheumatic heart disease.
|May 4||1950|| The American Legion votes to contribute funds to the field of mental |
health with the provision that the three major mental health organizations
then in existence be amalgamated into one. They accepted this provision
and the National Association for Mental Health was born.
|July 9||1954||The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation is formed.|
|September 1||1966|| The American Legion voices great concern over the fate of POWs |
|August 26||1982|| The American Legion presents a $1million check to the Vietnam |
Veterans Memorial Fund toward the construction of 'The Wall' in
|July 21||1983|| The American Legion announces its sponsorship of an independent |
study of the effects of exposure to Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans.
(The results of "The American Legion Columbia University Study of
Vietnam-era Veterans' were presented to Congress in 1989.)
|January 1||1989|| The Department of Veterans Affairs begins operations. The American |
Legion fought for the VA to become a cabinet-level department, arguing
that veterans deserved representation in the highest conuncils fo government.
|October 16||1989|| Longstanding objective of The American Legion is achieved as the |
U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals begins operations.
|October 11||1990|| The Family Support Netword of The American Legion is formed to |
assist the families of military personnel deployed during Operation
Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
|June 15||1991|| The American Legion's first Junior Shooting Sports National Air |
Rifle Championships are held at the Olympic Training Center at
Colorado Springs, Colo.
|April 5||1993|| The First class of recently discharged veterans begins training in |
Sterling, VA for eventual placement in well-paying jobs in the
construction industry. The landmark training and job-placement
program is a joint effort by The American Legion and the Laborers'
International Union of North America.
|August 24||1994|| The American Legion announces creation of the Citizens Flag |
Alliance to work for a constitutional amendment to protect the
American flag from physical desecration.
|September 24||1994|| The American Legion announces partnership with the Smithsonian |
Institute's Air and Space Museum to develop an exhibit for the bomber
Enola Gay, which droped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan.
Previous museum plans and drawn intense criticism from veterans,
scholars and the public.
|January 30||1995|| The American Legion announces acceptance of scaled-down |
exhibit "without political commentary" for the Enola Gay, ending
the greatest controversy in the Smithsonian Institute's 149-year history.
|October 1||1995|| The American Legion forms a Persian Gulf Tast Force to |
enhance the organization's service to these veterans.
|September 16||1996|| The first $20,000 postsecondary scholarship in the Samsung -|
American Legion High School Scholars program are
granted to 10 students.
|June 11||1997|| The American Legion National Emergency Fund exceeds the $1 |
million mark in grants to flood victims in Ohio, Kentrucky, Indiana,
Minnesota, and North Dakota.
|September 3||1997|| The first National Law Enforcement Office of the Year award is |
presented during the 79th National Convention in Orlando, Fla.
|March 28||2000|| The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the |
Sons of The American Legion donate $2.7 million to the World
War II Memorial Fund. Donations exceed 3.4 million by year end.
|September 5||2000|| The American Legion presents the first "Spirit of Service" |
Award to active duty service members for their off-duty volunteer
|August 28-30||2001|| The American Legion passes resolution to rekindle Blue Star |
Service Banner program.
|September 12||2001|| The American Legion reactivates the Family Support Network |
following terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
|October 10-11||2001|| The American Legion creates the American Legacy Scholarship |
Fund for children of military members killed on active duty on or after
September 11, 2001
|September 11||2002|| The American Legion takes lead in conducting "A Day To Remember" |
events to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the nation.
|November 8||2002|| The American Legion launches national "I Am Not A Number" |
campaign to identify and document the delays veterans face in
obtaining earned medical care benefits from the Department of
|October 17||2003|| American Legion efforts on Capitol Hill break the deadlock on |
the Disabled Veterans Tax when Congress creates a 10-year
phase-in for service-connected disabled retirees to receive military
retired pay and VA disability compensation without subtraction from
either. Legion efforts also result in passage of the Military Family
Tax Relief Act.
|September 3||2004|| American Legion lobbying leads to more progress in elimination |
of the Disabled Veterans Tax with passage of PL 108-375 that
eliminates the 10-year phase-in for 100 percent service-connected
retirees, allowing them to immediately begin receiving both retired
pay and VA disability payments.
|September 19||2004|| The American Legion launches a national program, the Blue Star |
Salute, where posts across the country hold public events to
recognize troops, their families and local businesses on Armed
|May 7||2005|| The American Legion lobbied successfully to remove from VA |
funding legislation administration-proposed increases in VA
prescription co-payments and institution of user fee for Priority
Group 8 veterans using VA health facilities. Efforts focus on
legislation to provide mandatory, vice discretionary, funding of
VA health care.
|June 30||2008|| President George W. Bush signs the Post-911 Veterans |
Education Assistance Act, a modern GI Bill strongly supported
by The American Legion, which lobbied on its behalf.
|October 22||2009||President Barack Obama signs the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act of 2009, guaranteeing "advance funding" for VA appropriations, a formula that The American Legion has strongly supported for many years. The new law sets funding for VA on year in advance.|