Legion looks forward to issuance of commemorative coins

On Sept. 25, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on House Resolution (H.R.) 2519, The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, a bill that would require the Department of Treasury to mint and issue gold, silver and half-dollar clad coins in celebration of the centennial of the Legion, for one year, beginning in January 2019.

The bill has made steady progress since being introduced to Congress earlier this year. Over the past few months, Legionnaires have been gathering support and co-sponsors for the bill in both the House of Representatives and Senate (S. 1182). The Senate measure passed the chamber on Aug. 3.

The Legion has worked tirelessly to ensure H.R. 2519 passes and advances to the White House for the president’s signature, according to James Oxford, chairman of The American Legion’s Legislative Commission.

“This is great news that the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2519 today,” he said. “Out of all of the coin bills authorized in the last decade, The American Legion broke the record for co-sponsors. The previous record was held by the U.S. Army with 348. We currently have 375 and that’s phenomenal.”

Unique among U.S. Mint products, all surcharges received from the sale of The American Legion centennial coin will help raise money for Legion programs that support veterans, servicemembers and their families, as well as commemorate important aspects of American history and culture. The funds gained from sales will support caring for those who served and are currently serving in the armed forces, and programs that maintain patriotic values, strong families and assistance for at-risk children.

"Since 1919, The American Legion has dedicated itself to serving our nation's veterans,” said Congressman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “I look forward to continuing to work alongside The American Legion in our shared goal of improving the lives of America’s heroes."

Congress only authorizes the minting of two commemorative coins per year, an honor Oxford said that the nation’s largest veterans organization is proud to share.

“The money that is generated from these commemorative coins will allow us to fund good, quality programs for youth, national security, deployed servicemembers and veterans,” Oxford said.

Congressman Tim Walz, D-Minn., Congressman Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., were critical in getting this veterans-centric legislation across the finish line, according to Oxford.

“For nearly a century, The American Legion has worked tirelessly day and night to improve the lives of our veterans and their families, and for that reason, words cannot express the gratitude I have for the men and women of The American Legion,” said Walz, the ranking member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “As both a veteran and a legislator, I see firsthand the results they achieve for veterans on a daily basis.”