Not necessarily a widely known holiday, American Legion Day is observed Friday and celebrates the American Legion — a federal charter that effectively serves as the “voice” of speaking on behalf of American veterans. It has aided wounded soldiers and military families and offers services to service members, communities and veterans.
According to Legion.org, the organization has played a major role in creating national legislation. It has historically helped to enact the GI Bill of Rights, which allowed veterans to return to schools, procure jobs and purchase homes upon completion of their military duties.
In honor of the historic day, here are 10 facts about the American Legion and American Legion Day.
- The group began with veterans of World War I and later developed into a burgeoning, major nonprofit group in the U.S. Membership has reached into the millions.
- Local posts that take up their own initiatives for the cause on a community-need-basis have grown all over the country. Today, there are more than 2.4 million members and 14,000 posts worldwide.
- In September of 2009, the House of Representatives designated Sept. 16 as the official “American Legion Day,” according to Legion.org. The bill was co-sponsored by 92 representatives.
- It was issued as a federal charter by Congress on Sept. 16, 1919.
- According to the Gleaner, the American Legion assists with school scholarships, team sponsorships and it helps disabled veterans get medical needs met like acquiring wheelchairs.
- The first Legion convention took place in Minneapolis, Nov. 10 through 12 in 1919.
- The original headquarters were voted to be located in Indianapolis instead of Washington.
- On June 22, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the original GI Bill.
- In 1990, the Legion created the Family Support Network, which was created to help the families of servicemen deployed for operations in the Middle East.
- On Oct. 22, 2009, President Obama signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act of 2009, which allows for “advance funding” for VA appropriations.