As The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) continues celebrating a century of service during this administrative year, we reflect fondly on the ALA's bond with The American Legion. Even with different organization names, leadership and protocols, the ALA and the Legion have strengthened our close ties and joint identity as a "Legion Family," along with the Sons of The American Legion and the Legion Riders.
The ALA is a community of volunteers serving veterans, military and their families. For more than 100 years, Auxiliary members have made a positive difference in the lives of those we proudly serve and honor.
Through it all, Auxiliary members have been steadfast in our support for The American Legion and its actions taken for – and on behalf of – veterans, servicemembers and their families. It goes both ways. The Legion has stood by the Auxiliary and has expressed value in the ways our member and non-member volunteers contribute to the Legion Family’s shared noble cause. This dates back to the early days of the ALA and the Legion, as illustrated by the insightful words penned by American Legion National Commander James A. Drain (1924-1925) in The American Legion Weekly’s Aug. 21, 1925, edition:
“The force to achieve the Legion’s aims receives added intensity when the strength of the (American) Legion Auxiliary is pushing on it. The Legion needs the Auxiliary ...
“The bachelor (Legion) post, the one which does not have an Auxiliary unit, is not making the most of its opportunities. To bachelor posts, I say: ‘Get an Auxiliary unit as quickly as you can, and watch yourselves go forward.’”
Drain was exactly right. The way forward for the Legion and Auxiliary is the path on which both organizations walk side by side, working toward our shared mission together. For example, Legionnaires, Auxiliary members, Sons and Riders can team up on local recruitment efforts. Posts, units, squadrons and chapters can launch joint efforts to tell our Legion Family stories to the world, and we can work together on mission-based outreach. Currently, there are 4,600 posts without units across the country. There are many creative ways we can pool our resources to achieve our common goal.
Here’s to many more years of The American Legion, the Auxiliary, the Sons and the Riders making huge impacts in the lives of those we proudly serve ... and doing so by working together, like the American Legion Family we are!
Nicole Clapp is national president of the American Legion Auxiliary.