The Legion’s legacy, worth coining

The American Legion has a golden opportunity. Well, silver and gold, actually. With your help, we can encourage Congress to mark the Legion’s upcoming centennial with limited-edition, exquisitely crafted commemorative coins. Not only will these coins raise public awareness about the greatest veterans organization in the country, but proceeds from their sale will raise funds for our outstanding programs.

A bipartisan group in Congress is gathering support for The American Legion 100th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act. Please ask your representative and senators to join co-sponsors Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Rep Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., in supporting this legislation. You can call or write to their district offices, or call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Unique among U.S. Mint products, these coins will honor the proud history of the Legion, which was founded by World War I veterans on the four pillars of veterans affairs and rehabilitation, a strong national defense, wholesome and patriotic youth programs, and Americanism.

Congress authorizes the minting of only two coins per year. Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Army and the National Park Service Centennial are among the most recent honorees. As the legislation makes clear, there are several reasons why the Legion is worthy of selection.

It is The American Legion that convened conferences in 1923 and 1924 that crafted the original U.S. Flag Code. It is The American Legion that drafted and made the case for the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill. It is The American Legion that pushed for the Veterans Administration to be elevated to cabinet-level status. It is The American Legion that strongly supported the comprehensive education benefits in the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act. It is The American Legion that created a scholarship fund for children of U.S. servicemembers who were killed or severely disabled while serving on active duty on or after 9/11. It is The American Legion that established its own National Emergency Fund, which provides cash relief to Legion members affected by natural disasters. 

Visit any military base or unit, and you will see the popularity of collectible coins. Whether it’s a challenge coin or a merit medallion, these mementoes serve as permanent reminders of a connection made between the owner and the benefactor who presented it. But the Legion’s coin will be different. Because of its rarity and value, it will certainly merit a top-shelf display by even the most prolific of collectors.

One of our most legendary founders was Theodore Roosevelt Jr. A son of the former president, Roosevelt was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery at Normandy. His vision for The American Legion played a pivotal role in the contributions the organization made to this country throughout its first century. That gift endures.

“The American Legion – what it has done, what it is doing and what it will continue to do – is exactly what my grandfather and his co-founders intended to achieve,” said Ted Roosevelt IV, chairman of the American Legion 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee. That achievement is worth commemorating on a unique and special coin.