The American Legion is an organization created in 1919 as a “patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness.” The American Legion has four pillars of mentorship of youth and promoting wholesome community programs, patriotism and honor, national security and devotion to American veterans and service members. It currently stands as one of the largest and most influential non-profit groups in the United States with a membership of over two million. It has 13,000 post world-wide which positively impact communities all over the nation and abroad.
The American Legion supports a host of youth programs which look to imbue their core pillars into the youth community at each of their posts. One of the American Legion’s programs is a prominent youth baseball program which encourages leadership, sportsmanship and patriotism in young players. Another is the Boys State, Girls State, Girls Nation and Boys Nation program. The Boys Nation event first began in 1946 at American University where 2 representatives from each Boys State convened in Washington to act as Senators from their respective states. The event was adopted by the American Legion National Committee in 1946 and now the program is robust with visits to national monuments and legislative buildings, meetings with Congressional representatives and lectures from prominent political and academic leaders. The American Legion also sponsors thousands of boy scouts unit and provides numerous scholarships to young leaders around the country.
Youth programs are only a few of all of the community programs that the American Legion sponsors. One of their largest programs is Operation Comfort Warriors which provides assistance, resources and comfort to wounded veterans and soldiers with PTSD. The Legion Riders is a community of motorcycling patriots that raise money for veterans and host motorcycle safety courses and community events. Additionally, the American Legion sponsors a National Emergency Fund which aids veterans in times and places of national or state emergencies and renders hundreds of thousands of dollars in aid each year. Lastly, the American Legion holds an abundance of community volunteering events all over the United States on a regular basis.
Legionnaires can be found in almost every community looking to make a positive change in their respective communities and also the national community as a whole. The American Legion is currently one of the most influential and well-respected lobbying organizations for veterans in the national capital today.