What Legion event celebrates its 93rd anniversary in May?
The organizing St. Louis Caucus, held May 8-10, 1919. The initial founding caucus had been held in Paris in March and was composed of World War I veterans still in Europe. It was decided that prior to the first national convention of the fledgling organization, a second caucus should be held in the United States to include the input of those who had already returned home.
Deep foundations for The American Legion were laid in St. Louis. Drafts of the Preamble and the Constitution were approved and ceremonial officers chosen, all to be finalized at the first national convention in November (Minneapolis was selected as the host city). In a tradition that continues to this day, resolutions were discussed regarding pressing national issues: Prohibition, which had just been instituted in January; the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and Bolsheviks; conscientious objectors; and others. And "The American Legion" was adopted as the official name of the new veterans group.
The main business of the caucus took place downtown at the Shubert Theatre (today a bank stands on the site, at Olive Street and Tucker Boulevard, as well as a memorial plaque on the bank’s wall); and the Hotel Statler (a National Register of Historic Places designee which, several owners, years of abandonment and a massive renovation later, is part of the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel complex – right across the street from the Cervantes Convention Center, site of the 2003 national convention).