The American Legion National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., held a special reception at the House Visitor’s Center on Nov. 7 to celebrate the passage of House Resolution (H.R.) 2519, The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act.
“This reception is really being held to honor and thank the staff and members of Congress who have co-sponsored, supported, garnered votes and ultimately voted for this bill,” said American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones. “Previously, the record for coin bills was held by the U.S. Army at 349 co-sponsors. However, that was not good enough for The American Legion. We not only broke the record, but also established a new record of 385 members of Congress.”
Jones said it is critical to understand why the Legion wanted H.R. 2519 passed. It is not simply about having a coin; rather, it’s about using the earned funds to benefit veterans and support the Legion’s programs.
“From Boys Nation, American Legion Baseball to our Oratorical Contest, Temporary Financial Assistance and other programs, this bill allows us to help more veterans. That’s why this was so important to us,” she said. “If it were not for those fine men and women, we would not have the beautiful nation that we have today.”
Reps. Tim Walz, D-Minn., Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Pete Sessions, R-Texas, and Darrell Issa, R-Calif., along with Sens. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Todd Young, R-Ind., gave brief remarks upon being honored with award plaques for their lead bipartisanship on the Legion’s coin bill.
“We love this organization so much because it’s about our veterans – the people who put their lives on the line for this country to keep us safe, to keep us secure and to give us our freedom,” Donnelly said. “This was a labor of love. We enjoyed every single minute of it. To see it come true put a smile on everybody’s face.”
“I want to thank you all for your vision about how we can take care of our American heroes,” said Roe, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “As long as this committee is together, we’ll be right there with you.”
Even though there is still much more work to do for veterans, Jones said the Legion is grateful for the teamwork, patriotism and pride that helped get H.R. 2519 passed.
“Every member of Congress who supported this bill truly deserves a plaque. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank each of you for your support not only on this bill, but on every initiative that we have worked on,” she said. “At the end of the day, we do it all for veterans and that’s all that matters.”