Why isn't The American Legion's membership eligibility expanded to all honorably discharged veterans?


Dear Commander James Koutz:

Our Post and Unit has been working on writing another resolution to expand AL membership to all honorably discharged veterans. Through this process, we understand that “Resolutions tell leadership what members want. Resolutions help leadership make decisions.” That quote is from the AL’s guidebook on writing resolutions. We also understand that many before us have written resolutions regarding the expansion to invite all honorably discharged men and women to join the AL. Help us to understand why these resolutions have continually been turned down. What can we do to write a successful resolution before membership numbers drop lower? Thank you for your answer in advance.


Dear Legionnaire;

Please know that all resolutions forwarded to the Resolutions Committee are carefully considered and taken seriously. While all resolutions are not adopted, they are all definitely reviewed and considered in earnest.

The resolution that you discuss is much more complicated than most, as it calls upon The American Legion to change, not only our bylaws, but our charter as well. As you are aware our charter is congressionally mandated, and requesting a change involves more than just the approval of a resolution.

The issue of expanding the membership criterion of The American Legion is an ongoing discussion that the departments and Legion leadership regularly review. There have been many suggestions that include expanding membership to Cold War veterans, expanded Global War On Terror veterans, as well as your department’s suggestion of expanding membership to all veterans.

The commission that handles this is the membership commission and the Internal Affairs Division.

Thank you for contacting the Legislative Division and please remember that we are here to support you, and all of the 2.4 million members of The American Legion.

Louis J. Celli Jr.
Director, National Legislative Division
Washington, D.C.