American Legion celebrates 99 years
This past week, the American Legion celebrated its 99th birthday.
The American Legion is the largest veterans’ organization in the U.S., and it’s in five other countries and territories. Four American soldiers who had fought in World War I started the Legion in 1919 in Paris. The American Legion was declared by the U.S. government as a non-profit, tax-exempt organization for the welfare of returning veterans and their families, as well as families of veterans killed in action, taken as prisoners of war or missing in action.
To qualify as a member of the American Legion, a veteran must have served their country in a time period of declared war or hostilities as determined by the U.S. Government. Those periods are April 6, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918 for World War I, Dec. 7, 1941 to Dec. 31, 1946 for World War II, June 25, 1950 to Jan. 31, 1955 for the Korean War, Feb. 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975 for Vietnam, Aug. 24, 1982 to July 31, 1984 for Grenada, Aug. 2, 1990 to Feb. 28, 1991 for Desert Storm/Desert Shield, as well as current operations up through the cessation of hostilities as determined by the U.S. Government. Men and women whose service began during one of those periods are admitted.
What the American Legion does:
- Delivers, free of charge, all U.S. flags for the graves of American military personnel laid to rest in overseas cemeteries.
- Provides cash assistance to needy military and veteran families with children at home.
- Purchases comfort items and recreational opportunities, from loose-fitting sweat suits for burn victims to amusement park tickets for families of hospitalized military personnel recovering from wounds and illnesses.
- Provides volunteer hours and services at VA medical facilities at an estimated annual value of $20 million.
- Fulfills needs and provides firsthand support for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries through a variety of therapeutic programs that are not dependent on prescription drugs.
- Awards college scholarships to children of U.S. military personnel who have lost their lives while on active duty since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
- Distributes urgent cash assistance to veterans whose homes have been badly damaged or destroyed by natural disasters.
- Sponsors and supports hundreds of youth programs, including more than 3,000 scouting units, nearly 4,000 American Legion Baseball teams, dozens of junior shooting sports clubs, Junior ROTC and Junior Law Cadet programs.
- Provides relief, support, shelter, training and compassion for homeless veterans.
- Supports and demands a full accounting and repatriation, when possible, of all U.S. military personnel listed as prisoners of war or missing in action.
American Legion Post No. 15 in Washington has a temporary charter dated Sept. 17, 1919, and is the 15th post in North Carolina with a permanent charter dated June 27, 1922.
Again, to all veterans, legionnaires, their families, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion, we wish the American Legion a very happy 99th as we look forward to 100 years in 2019!
Phillip Mobley, Commander
American Legion Post No. 15