The American Legion’s largest annual meeting is the national convention. Each of the Legion’s 55 departments – the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines – is entitled to a minimum of five voting delegates to the national convention. The national convention delegates alone have the authority to approve changes to the Legion’s constitution and bylaws. The group is also responsible for passing programs that determine the course of the Legion, setting membership dues for the upcoming year, and electing a national commander and five national vice commanders to serve until the next convention.
Along with the above-mentioned and the annual business meeting, other significant elements of the National Convention include a parade, patriotic memorial service, exhibits, general sessions with nationally acclaimed keynote speakers, color guard and band contests, receptions and banquets. Convention cities are selected through a variety of criteria including, but not limited to, the availability and price of hotel rooms, meeting space, city services, and the needs of the national organization and departments. Bids are accepted from cities wishing to host the convention.