published : 2023-09-17

On this day in history, September 16, 1919: Congress grants national charter to the American Legion

Legion formed to aid wounded warriors and military families — and much more

An image of Major John W. Griffith, the World War I U.S. Army veteran who believed in fostering courage through competition, taken with a Nikon D850 camera.

Major John W. Griffith was a World War I U.S. Army veteran who believed greater competition would fill youngsters with courage.

The American Legion created the nation's first organized youth baseball league, now played by 100,000 people each summer.

The American Legion, an organization of U.S. war veterans, was issued a federal charter by Congress on this day in history on Sept. 16, 1919.

For its continued aid to wounded warriors and military families, legacy of community volunteerism, and significant role in establishing important national legislation, the American Legion received the national charter from the U.S. Congress.

The official website of The American Legion confirms these achievements.

The American Legion provides free, professional assistance in filing and pursuing benefits claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs.

This service is available to any veteran, according to the same source.

A photo of the American Legion's national headquarters located in Indianapolis, Indiana, captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV camera.

Founded in Paris on March 15–17, 1919, the American Legion originated from delegates representing combat and service units of the American Expeditionary Force.

With a nonpolitical and nonsectarian stance, the American Legion has strict membership criteria of honorable service and an honorable discharge.

Indianapolis, Indiana, serves as the location of the American Legion's national headquarters.

Having over two million members and 14,000 posts nationwide, the American Legion is the largest Veteran Service Organization in the United States.

One of the core missions of the American Legion is to care for disabled and sick veterans.

The organization played a crucial role in establishing hospitals and other services for World War I veterans, which later expanded to meet the needs of veterans from subsequent wars.

The American Legion's impact extends to establishing the U.S. Veterans Administration in 1930 and drafting the first 'Flag Code' adopted by Congress in 1942.

A snapshot of young baseball players participating in the American Legion's organized youth baseball league, taken with a Sony Alpha a7 III camera.

Additionally, the American Legion played an important part in the enactment of the GI Bill of Rights for World War II and Korean War veterans.

The organization's support for veterans led to the elevation of the then-Veterans Administration to Cabinet-level status as the Department of Veterans Affairs in 1989.

Scouting and youth development programs have also been a significant focus for the American Legion.

The organization presently sponsors thousands of Boy Scout troops, junior baseball teams, and annually honors an Eagle Scout of the Year with a $10,000 scholarship.

Legion Baseball, which began in 1925, currently registers over 5,400 teams across various states and countries.

Furthermore, the American Legion's Boys State program dedicates itself to promoting leadership, with notable alumni including former President Bill Clinton, news commentator Tom Brokaw, and astronaut Neil Armstrong.

The work of the American Legion continues to have a profound impact on veterans, their families, and the community at large.