The American Legion celebrated a milestone 90th anniversary on Wednesday. In recognition, the Senate and House of Representatives passed a resolution designating Sept. 16 as "American Legion Day". The measure was shepherded through the Senate by Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and through the House by Rep. Deborah Halvorson (D-Ill.). In the Senate, the bill was cosponsored by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). It drew cosponsorship from 92 representatives.
Presenting the resolution to the Senate, Snowe praised the 90-year-old Legion – which was issued a federal charter by Congress on Sept. 16, 1919 – for its continued aid to wounded warriors and military families, legacy of community volunteerism and significant role in establishing important national legislation.
"As all of us in this chamber know, The American Legion remains today an active and vigorous advocate for servicemembers, veterans and their families here on Capitol Hill," Snowe said. "Among its greatest legislative achievements was the enactment of the... GI Bill of Rights. The initial draft of the GI Bill was written by Legionnaires at the Mayflower Hotel here in Washington, D.C. Many consider the GI Bill as one of the greatest pieces of legislation ever enacted."
A similar measure (House Resolution 679) was introduced to the House by Halvorson in late July. The bill passed Wednesday afternoon.
"On September 16, 1919 The American Legion was granted their federal charter by Congress, and 90 years later they have kept their commitment to serve not only as a resource and a voice on behalf of veterans across America, but also as an organization dedicated to the betterment of America through community service," Halvorson said. "Since their founding charter, The American Legion has not waved from the guiding principles and vision that can be found in their Four Pillars of Service."
National Commander Clarence Hill expressed his appreciation to Congress."We, as an organization, are honored and humbled that Congress is recognizing the dedication that members of The American Legion have demonstrated on behalf of their fellow veterans for nearly a century now," Hill said. Posts are urged to get a proclamation from their town or city mayor, designating locally Sept. 16 as American Legion Day. Legionnaires should look for photo opportunities with the mayor signing the bill. A sample proclamation can be found at the Legion's new Web site: Legion Town, USA . There, posts can also submit success stories about their acts of community volunteerism and service to military men and women.