Our influence outside the United States

You may be aware that there are nearly 14,000 American Legion posts in the United States that are actively involved with veterans, youth and their community. But did you know that outside of the United States there are 250 posts that are also actively promoting the good of the organization?

More than 15,000 Legionnaires belong to Foreign and Outlying Departments and Posts of The American Legion (FODPAL). FODPAL posts can be found in Canada, Ireland, Greece, Germany, Costa Rica, Panama and beyond. There is even China Post 1, the only Legion post currently operating in exile (it was chartered in 1920 in Shanghai, but evacuated in 1948 in the midst of the civil war that ended with communist control of mainland China). Although it has no post home in China, the members still remain active.

Recently, China Post 1 helped raise nearly $4,000 to purchase Job Access With Speech (JAWS) for children attending the Northern Luzon Association for the Blind (NLAB) school in the Philippines. JAWS is a computer screen reader program that allows blind and visually impaired users to read the screen by text-to-speech or by Braille. The screen reading software was added to the NLAB’s five computers, which China Post 1 also helped purchase through fundraising.

John Keller, commander of China Post 1, said the JAWS software "will allow NLAB children an opportunity to merge into the digital age of communication, education and socialization. I believe that the simple keystroke action of asking another human being thousands of miles away a question of science, culture or friendship can put these children on a track that will rival Helen Keller in her accomplishments in life."

Meanwhile, in honor of the Legion’s 95th birthday last month, Paris Post 1 Commander Carl W. Hale led a ceremony celebrating the birth of The American Legion from where it all began at 14 Rue Ernest Psichari. And just like Legionnaires in the states, FODPAL members conduct membership drives, host honor and remembrance events, participate in youth programs and more.

I encourage you to visit the FODPAL web page to read more about the Legion’s place and influence outside of the United States.