The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.
Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball is one of the nation’s most successful amateur athletic programs, educating young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship and fitness. The Heroes to Hometowns program connects local Legionnaires with recovering wounded warriors and their families, providing a variety of support activities. The Legion raises millions of dollars in donations at the local, state and national levels to help veterans and their families and to provide college scholarship opportunities.
The American Legion is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization with great political influence perpetuated by its grass-roots involvement in the legislation process from local districts to Capitol Hill. Legionnaires’ sense of obligation to community, state and nation drives an honest advocacy for veterans in Washington. The Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation's veterans community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership.
The American Legion’s success depends entirely on active membership, participation and volunteerism. The organization belongs to the people it serves and the communities in which it thrives.
History of the American Legion
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization. Focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership swiftly grew to over 1 million, and local posts sprang up across the country. Today, membership stands at over 2.4 million in 14,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and the Philippines.
Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. Following is a chronology of significant dates in Legion history:
The American Legion Family
For nearly a century, The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion have worked steadfastly, side by side, promoting patriotism and national security while supporting youth and advocating for veterans and active-duty military. The Legion Family also includes American Legion Riders, a program of motorcycle enthusiasts. Members join through a Riders chapter at an American Legion post.
While members of The American Legion Family are individually unique, collectively we are a multi-million member powerhouse of caring advocates dedicated to service. You and your family can join us! You’ll find that getting connected to The American Legion Family is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.