March 15-17, 1919
The American Legion is founded in Paris at the first caucus by members of the American Expeditionary Force.
May 9, 1919
Caucus meeting in St. Louis adopts "The American Legion" as the organization's official name. The Legion's draft constitution is approved, and so is its preamble, which begins: "For God and Country, we associate ourselves together. . ." The preamble, with its heartfelt dedication to freedom and democracy, is still recited today at official gatherings of The American Legion.
June 9, 1919
The National Executive Committee of The American Legion adopts the Legion Emblem.
Sept. 16, 1919
The U.S. Congress charters The American Legion.
Nov. 10-12, 1919
The American Legion convenes its first annual convention in Minneapolis.
Nov. 10-12, 1919
The American Legion's Constitution and Preamble are adopted at the convention in Minneapolis.
Nov. 10-12, 1919
The American Legion passes resolution supporting the Boy Scouts of America. Today, the Legion is the chartering agency for more than 1,700 Scouting units that involve 64,000 youths.
Nov. 11, 1919
Delegates to The American Legion's first annual convention in Minneapolis vote 361-323 to locate the Legion's National Headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind., rather than Washington, D.C.
Aug. 9, 1921
The U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of the Veterans Administration, is created as a result of efforts by The American Legion. Today, the Legion continues to lobby for adequate funding of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
June 15, 1923
The first "Flag Code" is drafted during a conference called by The American Legion in Washington, D.C. The code eventually was adopted by Congress in 1942. Today, the Legion is at the forefront of efforts to gain a constitutional amendment to protect the American flag from physical desecration.
July 17, 1925
American Legion Baseball program is created. Today, more than 60 percent of professional baseball players are graduates of The American Legion Baseball program. About 89,000 high-school-age youths play on Legion-sponsored teams each year.
Membership in The American Legion increases to more than one million veterans.
June 23, 1935
The first American Legion Boys State is convened in Springfield, Ill., to help youths gain an understanding of the structure and operation of American government. The first Boys Nation was organized in 1946.
June 1, 1938
The final round of The American Legion's first annual National High School Oratorical Contest is held in Norman, Okla. Today, more than 25,000 high school students from around the country compete annually in the contest designed to develop a greater understanding of the U.S. Constitution. Winners are awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships.
Sept. 19-21, 1942
The Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion is changed for the first and only time since its creation in 1919 -- the word "War" is changed to "Wars."
Oct. 29, 1942
The American Legion's charter is amended to allow veterans of World War II to join the organization.
Dec. 15, 1943
Harry W. Colmery, past national commander of The American Legion, writes in longhand on hotel stationery the first draft of what will later become the "GI Bill of Rights", the Legion's greatest single legislative achievement. Today, the Legion is at the forefront of efforts to improve benefits for this nation's newest veterans, those who've served during Desert Shield/Desert Storm and are serving today in a variety of peacekeeping roles.
June 22, 1944
The GI Bill is signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt.
May 29, 1946
A $50,000 grant from The American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary is presented to a small, struggling organization, the American Heart Association, to inaugurate a nationwide program for the study, prevention, and treatment of rheumatic heart disease.
Aug. 28, 1946
Legion membership surpasses three million.
Sept. 1, 1949
The first World War II veteran is elected national commander of The American Legion.
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