A Century of Service

Posted: April 1, 2019

A few months after the end of World War I, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of President Teddy Roosevelt and one of twenty officers of the American Expeditionary Force in France, conceptualized the creation of a non-political, non-profit organization for the welfare of veterans and preservation of comradeship among ex-soldiers. This group, which called themselves “The Temporary Committee of Twenty," was entrusted by the commander of the AEF, General John J. Pershing, to deal with the worsening morale of the war-weary troops pining to go home. At the Paris caucus, which was convened by the committee in March 1919, 1000 enlisted men and officers met and agreed on the organization’s official name: The American Legion. This was soon followed by a caucus in St. Louis where their preamble and constitution were approved. In September 1919, Congress granted a national charter to the Legion. The American Legion was founded on the four pillars of support and advocacy: Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism, and Children and Youth.

Today hundreds of American Legion programs and initiatives help veterans and families in their communities. Driven by volunteerism and fundraising, the Legion champions for social change and advocates for the veteran community at the local, state, and national level. Headquartered in Indianapolis, American Legion membership today stands at over 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide, one of which is in our own community of Melville. 

The American Legion celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.