New marker shares Legion story in 100 words
Members of the National Executive Committee watch the unveiling of a historical marker at the Indiana Veterans' Center, the original headquarters of The American Legion in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Oct. 6. Photo by Ben Mikesell/The American Legion

New marker shares Legion story in 100 words

The new Indiana Historical Bureau marker installed Oct. 6 in front of The American Legion’s first permanent national headquarters building covers 25 years of the organization’s history in two 50-word paragraphs.

The text, crafted by the Indiana Historical Bureau with research documentation from the American Legion National Headquarters, reads as follows:

The American Legion, chartered
by Congress in 1919, became the
largest organization advocating for
U.S. veterans. It established national
headquarters in Indianapolis and
dedicated the building here in 1925.
In the wake of WWI and amid
concerns about internationalism and
communism, The American Legion
promoted military preparedness
and “100 percent Americanism.”

On the filpside, the marker reads:

A powerful lobbying group, The
American Legion and its Auxiliary
influenced legislation to enact the U.S.
Flag Code, Veterans Administration,
and the landmark G.I. Bill. It offered
youth programs like American Legion
Baseball. Headquarters moved across
the plaza in 1950, as men and women
of the Legion continued work for the
rehabilitation and readjustment
of veterans.

Installation of the marker was originally planned for 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed it until 2021 at the same time American Legion National Commander Paul E. Dillard and the National Executive Committee were in Indianapolis for Fall Meetings. Following the Oct. 6 unveiling, members of the NEC and others toured the Indiana Veterans’ Center, a state-of-the-art multi-purpose veterans assistance hub that now operates out of the original American Legion building. The auditorium inside, respectfully remodeled to remember The American Legion’s presence there, was the NEC Room from 1925 until 1950.

The center, along with the current American Legion National Headquarters at 700 N. Pennsylvania, is administered by the Indiana War Memorials Commission.