Legion convention to bring thousands of veterans and millions of dollars to Charlotte
War veterans from around the world and across the nation begin arriving in Charlotte next week for activities surrounding the 96th National Convention of The American Legion, the nation’s largest organization of wartime veterans.
“We expect more than 9,000 members of The American Legion family to take part in convention activities between Aug. 22 and Aug. 28,” said Michael E. Walton, chairman of The American Legion National Convention Commission. “Legionnaires and their families will actually be attending three different, but simultaneous, conventions – The American Legion convention, the American Legion Auxiliary convention and the Sons of the American Legion convention.”
Blue-capped Legionnaires will be seen primarily in the downtown area where they will be housed in a number of hotels consuming 17,000 room nights as they meet in business sessions at the Charlotte Convention Center. They are expected to contribute between $15 million and $20 million to the city economy through shopping, dining and tourism during their stay.
“We are delighted to be back to the great city of Charlotte,” Walton said. “This is the second time we have convened in Charlotte. Legionnaires truly enjoy the outstanding hospitality extended by everyone in this beautiful city.”
A previous American Legion convention was held in Charlotte in 2002. Highlights open to the public include The American Legion National Convention
Parade on Sunday, Aug. 24, beginning at 4 p.m. Marching units, bands, military vehicles and more will begin at 9th and North Tryon Street and continue on North Tryon to Stonewall Street. The reviewing stand will be located at Levine Avenue of the Arts and South Tryon Street.
A competition of American Legion Color Guard units will be held Friday, Aug. 22, from 5 to 7:30 pm. at the Charlotte Convention Center, Hall A, Exhibit Level.
The American Legion will feature four free career events for veterans and servicemembers during the National Convention. Events will be held Aug. 25-26 at the Westin Charlotte Hotel:
• The American Legion’s Corporate Employment Workshop will offer information and opportunities for training in a variety of careers. Companies such as General Electric, Citigroup, Northrop Grumman and Nextstar will participate from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• The ‘Boots to Business: Reboot’ Small Business Workshop, conducted by staff from the Small Business Administration from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., is specifically designed to help veterans identify opportunities, write business plans and launch their enterprises.
• The American Legion is also co-sponsoring a Hiring Event and Resume Workshop with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the Charlotte Convention Center downtown. The Resume Workshop will be held Monday, Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The Hiring Our Heroes Transition & Benefits Job Fair will run Tuesday, Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m and is open to veterans, active-duty military, National Guard, reservists, and spouses. All of the events are free of charge. To register, please contact Doris Grooms at (202) 263-5757 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Veterans of all five branches of military service who have served in uniform during wartime, or are currently serving, are invited to join The American Legion and participate in the convention activities. On-site registration will take place in Concourse C, of the Charlotte Convention Center, next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. entrance anytime from Aug. 20 through Aug. 28 or join online at www.legion.org.
With a current membership of 2.3 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.