Vice President Joe Biden will be the featured speaker at The American Legion’s 95th National Convention on Aug. 27 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The National Convention runs from Aug. 23-29.
Vice President Biden, who represented the state of Delaware for 36 years in the U.S. Senate, previously spoke at the Legion’s "Salute to Heroes" Inaugural Ball on Jan. 21 in Washington. The event celebrated America’s living recipients of the Medal of Honor.
Other guest speakers at the convention include Theodore Roosevelt IV, who will address the convention on Tuesday morning, Aug. 27. His grandfather – Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. – served in World War I, became one of the Legion’s founding fathers, and led American troops ashore at Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944, during World War II.
Roosevelt, a U.S. Navy veteran who served two tours in the Vietnam War, is currently a managing director at Barclays Capital Corporation. He is the great-grandson of America’s 26th president, Teddy Roosevelt, who led his famous "Rough Riders" cavalry unit into battle during the Spanish-American War.
Former Army pilot Michael Durant, whose helicopter was shot down during a raid in Somalia in 1993 and who was subsequently held prisonor by the Somalis for 11 days, also will address the convention. The raid and ensuing battle were made famous in the book and movie "Black Hawk Down."
Other speakers on the 27th include the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, USMC; and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley, chief of the U.S. Army Reserve.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki will address the Legion’s convention on Wednesday, Aug. 28, as well as three members of Congress: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Rep. Al Green, D-Texas; and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla. Miller chairs the House veterans’ affairs committee.
Other speakers on 28th include David Bellavia, recipient of the Silver Star; Lawrence Romo, director of the Selective Service System; and Kevin Schmiegel, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The American Legion is co-sponsoring about 200 career fairs this year with the Chamber.
On Saturday, Aug. 24, the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Commission will hear from three VA officials: Under Secretary for Benefits Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve Muro, and Robert Jesse, VA’s principal deputy under secretary for health. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, will also address the commission.
Rep. Green also will address the Legion’s Legislative Commission on the 24th. An advocate for homeless veterans, Green has recently introduced a bill into the House of Representatives that would provide reduced train and bus fare rates for veterans.
Gwen Camp of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will address the Legion’s National Security and Foreign Relations Commissions on the 24th. Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute will be another featured speaker.
The American Legion’s Economic Commission is hosting roundtable events during the convention on three topics: education (Aug. 22), credentialing (Aug. 23) and homeless veterans (Aug. 24).
Three career events are scheduled for Monday, Aug. 26 and Tuesday, Aug. 27: the Employment Workshop, the Women’s Small Business Workshop, and the Employment, Empowerment & Entrepreneurship Summit. A "Hiring Our Heroes Career Fair" is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 27 only. Register here for all events.
The American Legion has been working with state legislatures in all 50 states, advocating for the passage of state laws that allow military training and education to be used to fulfill licensing and credentialing requirements in the civilian work force.