Just two years after the birth of The American Legion, its founders saw fit to award a Distinguished Service Medal as tribute to those who made great contributions to veterans. The first award, presented in 1921 at the Legion's national convention, could not be limited to one individual. Instead, five were presented to recognize the importance of Allied forces in the victorious battles of
World War I.
United in Kansas City, Mo., the chosen site for the National World War I Museum at the Liberty Memorial, Legionnaires resolved: "... in recognition of the respect, admiration and affection which The American Legion has for the distinguished guests now honoring us, and as a mark of our esteem and gratification at the honor thus paid us by attending our National Convention, The American Legion, in convention assembled, hereby authorizes Marshal Ferdinand Foch (of France), Admiral Sir David Beatty (of Great Britain), Lieutenant General Baron Jacques (of Belgium), General Armando Diaz (of Italy) and M. Charles Bertrand (of France, president of the Inter-Allied Veterans Association) to wear the official badge of The American Legion. Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress and the American Legion Library.