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Who We Are

A Powerful Force for the Nation T e American Legion is our nation’s largest and most influential veterans organization.

With a membership of 2.4 million men and women, and nearly 14,000 local posts around the world, the Legion touches the lives of veterans, troops, families and communities every day. On Capitol Hill, the Legion’s voice resonates not only as that of the American veteran, but also of the American conscience. From urban neighborhoods to small towns, and everything in between, the Legion epitomizes patriotism, pride, mentorship and service. Founded in 1919, the Legion has rarely shiſt ed from its original values and core mission.

T ose values were set by a compassionate group of soldiers fresh out of the trenches of World War I. T ey gathered in Paris to form an organization to care for their comrades, many of whom came home sick, wounded or shell-shocked. T ey further determined that the spouses and children of the Great War – many widowed, orphaned or otherwise suffering – needed “a square deal” to keep their families together. T e earliest Legionnaires also believed that a well- resourced military and a commitment to diplomacy abroad are both essential to lasting world peace. T ey wholeheartedly believed in the nation under whose banner they had fought. T us were born the four pillars of T e American Legion: Veterans, Youth, Defense and Americanism. T rough the decades, the Legion’s accomplishments are many and storied. T e Legion

brought into existence the modern VA; wrote the original GI Bill and shepherded its passage; successfully fought to provide benefi ts for veterans exposed to Agent Orange in the Vietnam War; and stood strong beside our troops in the aſt ermath of 9/11. Today, just as it has for nearly a century, T e American Legion is a powerful force for the nation, delivering community service, pride, hope and relevance for new generations of veterans and their families.


This Year in The American Legion  Raised over $600,000 in college money for children of military personnel killed since 9/11  Created an American Legion Youth Programs Alumni Association

 Formed a “preferred provider” alliance with USAA, connecting newly eligible Legionnaires to one of the nation’s top fi nancial and insurance associations

 Guided improvements to the Post-9/11 GI Bill, enhancing value for today’s student veterans

 Coordinated System Worth Saving site visits at more than 50 VA health-care facilities nationwide

 Conducted surveys on women’s health care and claims processing to help VA identify issues  Launched a Flag Rewards Program to benefi t posts that buy U.S. fl ags in their communities

2011 | T e American Legion Annual Report 3

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