OVERSEAS GRAVES DECORATION TRUST FUND
The following are the guidelines for use of the Overseas Graves Decoration Trust Fund by FODPAL departments and posts, to decorate the individual graves of those veterans laid to rest in cemeteries (on Memorial Day) that are not under the control of the American Battle Monuments Commission.
The definition of overseas is any department or post outside the continental borders of the 48 states.
Trust Fund Members
Consist of the current National Commander of The American Legion, who shall be chairman, and the immediate Past National Commander of The American Legion and his predecessor, who shall be known as the Trustees, and who shall serve respectively for three, two and one years to be calculated from the last day of the national convention of The American Legion. The American Legion National Adjutant will serve as recording secretary, The American Legion National Treasurer will be Financial Adviser, and the Chairman of the Finance Commission who shall serve so long as he or she remains as chairman. Each retiring trustee is released from any and all liability by reason of his acts as trustee. The Trustees are charged with the custody, control and administration of the fund, the income of said fund are used to honor, preserve and decorate the graves of those U.S. veterans who served in the world wars, conflicts and hostilities and who are buried overseas.
Rather than barbecues, races or even parades, the real idea of Memorial Day is to remember those who served their country in uniform and are no longer with us. The American Legion has been in the forefront of such efforts since its existence – no matter how far-flung the fallen comrade.
The American Legion Overseas Graves Decoration Trust Fund was established in the 1920s, and provides all U.S. flags – from Emblem Sales, made in the USA – flown at cemeteries and burial sites in foreign countries where American troops are buried or otherwise memorialized. The first fundraising for the decoration of overseas graves took place in 1921-1922, and its current organizational plan has been in force since 1935.
The Trustees shall use the income of the Overseas Graves Decoration Trust Fund to honor, preserve and decorate the graves of those who served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America in World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, and of those who served during the period of the Vietnam hostilities, who lie overseas. They may adopt and use such methods and means as they may deem advisable, including the active cooperation and aid of overseas departments and posts of The American Legion and any other agencies, and in pursuance thereof may prescribe details, methods and practices deemed necessary, expedient, or convenient. The income shall be used exclusively to honor, preserve and decorate the graves and for no other purpose, and under no circumstances shall the Trustees have the power or authority to expend, use or divert the Trust Fund or any part thereof for any other purpose.
In addition to the above guidelines this fund will financially aid departments and posts outside the continental United States of America to honor and decorate individual graves of those veterans who were laid to rest outside American Battle Monuments Commission-controlled facilities.
Funds Request Procedures
Fund requests must be sent to The American Legion, National Adjutant, 700 N. Pennsylvania, P.O. Box 1055, Indianapolis, IN 46206, on or before 1 January of each year.
The following information is required for each request for funds.
- The name of the veteran.
- The cemetery name and location (city and country) where the veteran is at rest.
- A quote in writing (not to exceed $50.00) from a local florist, for flowers to decorate each veteran’s grave.
- A mailing address for Emblem Sales’ use so they can mail each department or post a “U.S.A. made American flag” for each grave to be decorated.
- A mailing address for The American Legion National Treasurer so he can mail each department or post the requested funds for each grave to be decorated.
THE FUNDS FROM THE OVERSEAS GRAVE DECORATION TRUST FUND ARE DISPENSED ON A FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED BASIS ANNUALLY UNTIL THE INCOME EACH YEAR IS DEPLETED.