In 1919, The American Legion was founded on four pillars: Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children & Youth. Each of these pillars encompasses a variety of programs that benefit our nation’s veterans, its service members, their families, the youth of America and ordinary citizens. These programs make a difference in hundreds of thousands of lives each year.
Our organization’s positions and programs are guided by resolutions passed by American Legion delegates. The men and women who work our programs are what allow The American Legion to make a difference locally, and on the state and national levels. It’s who we are and what we do.
For more than 100 years, The American Legion has acted as the nation’s leading advocate for proper health care, economic opportunity and legal benefits for US military veterans. The Legion was instrumental in the creation of the Veterans Administration in 1930, and an ardent supporter of its elevation to cabinet status when it became the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989. The relationship between VA and The American Legion continues to evolve today. As it has for decades, The American Legion continues to aggressively lobby for adequate funding of VA health care, timely access to facilities, fair rulings on benefit claims, and economic opportunities for those who have come home changed by their military experiences. A nationwide network of American Legion department service officers works diligently to assist veterans as they pursue benefits and care they earned and deserve. At the local, state and national levels, thousands of Legionnaires provide countless hours to help veterans obtain their benefits. The American Legion provides professional representation in claims appeals, discharge disputes and transition assistance from active duty to civilian status throughout the country.
The National Security Division of The American Legion represents the organization’s positions on national defense, homeland security and quality of life for our servicemembers and their families. Since its inception, the American Legion has steadfastly supported a strong national defense. The American Legion closely monitors issues that are most relevant to our nation’s vital security interests. The American Legion works closely with each branch of the US Armed Forces in an effort to stay well informed about issues that affect our troops and our military quality of life a top priority. The American Legion’s national security position is multifaceted that includes a well-funded, well equipped and well trained military; awareness and surveillance of rogue nations, terrorist groups and global threats to US security around the world; support for the Department of Homeland Security and urging protection of US borders, ports and other points of access; comprehensive disaster preparedness; decent quality of life for troops and their families that include reasonable compensation, benefits, health care, child care and family support programs; matters such as transition to civilian life and using the VA health care system.
The American Legion is, at heart, a patriotic organization and the nation’s leading authority on U.S. flag education, respect and etiquette. The American Legion promotes good citizenship, respectful expression of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance, and marches in patriotic parades and activities. We express respect for law and order. Support for the US Constitution is a very important part of our Americanism mission of education within our communities.
The American Legion’s commission on Children & Youth manages a pillar of service guided by three main objectives: to strengthen the family unit, to support quality organizations that provide services for children and youth, and to provide communities with well-rounded programs that meet the physical, educational, emotional and spiritual needs of young people. The commission works to provide hope for children who face health, safety, discipline or home life challenges, and provides opportunities for young people to succeed. The American Legion has been a staunch supporter of the children and youth of our nation since its founding in 1919. Every generation of veterans knows that the key to the future of a free and prosperous country is held by the children and youth of today. The Legion strongly supports traditional family values, assistance for at risk children, and activities that promote their healthy and wholesome development. While there is no way of knowing what issues will face our youth tomorrow, our survival may well depend on the quality of care, education and training that we, as parents and citizens, provide for young people today.