American Legion Day
All posts are encouraged to obtain a proclamation making Sept. 16 “The American Legion Day.” Ideally, the document will be signed by the city or town mayor or manager. Departments can obtain a similar document for governors.
American Legion Day is a perfect opportunity to invite media to cover post events, highlight programs and explain to the public why your town is a Legiontown. To draw community support and recognition, posts can organize open houses, charity fundraisers, disaster preparedness demonstrations, 5K races to benefit The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund, or any activity that raises community awareness. Events should welcome families and the local military community, including active, Reserve and National Guard members and their families.
Nationally, both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives passed proclamations designating Sept. 16 as “The American Legion Day.”
The following proclamation by the House, which passed on Sept. 15, 2009, was introduced by U.S. Rep. Deborah L. Halvorson, D-Ill.
Title: Supporting the goals and ideals of American Legion Day.
Sponsor: Rep. Halvorson, Deborah L. [IL-11] (introduced 7/24/2009) Cosponsors (20)
Latest Major Action: 7/24/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
H. RES. 679
Supporting the goals and ideals of American Legion Day.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 24, 2009
Mrs. HALVORSON (for herself, Mr. RODRIGUEZ, Mr. LANCE, Mr. TEAGUE, Mr. COURTNEY, Mrs. EMERSON, Mr. ALEXANDER, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, Mr. TIM MURPHY of Pennsylvania, Mr. LATOURETTE, Mr. ALTMIRE, Mr. REICHERT, Mr. LAMBORN, Mr. GRAYSON, Mr. BURGESS, Ms. BORDALLO, Mr. WESTMORELAND, Mr. BISHOP of New York, Mrs. MCMORRIS RODGERS, Mr. PERLMUTTER, and Mr. CAO) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Supporting the goals and ideals of American Legion Day.
Whereas, on September 16, 1919, Congress issued the American Legion a Federal charter;
Whereas the American Legion, a veterans service organization, remains active at the national, State, and local levels;
Whereas American Legion members, known as Legionnaires, donate millions of volunteer hours in Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities and State veterans homes;
Whereas the American Legion sponsors and supports a number of activities for children and youth, including the National Oratorical Contest, Boy Scouts, American Legion Baseball, Boys State, and Boys Nation;
Whereas the American Legion awards millions of dollars in college scholarships;
Whereas the American Legion National Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to Legionnaires who are displaced by natural disasters;
Whereas the American Legion Family Support Network provides assistance to members of the Armed Forces and their families;
Whereas the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided millions of dollars for programs focused on America’s children and youth, such as the Special Olympics and the Children’s Miracle Network;
Whereas the American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance program provides grants to veterans who have children and who are experiencing financial hardships;
Whereas the American Legion remains a steadfast supporter of a strong national defense;
Whereas the American Legion supports maintaining a viable but principled foreign affairs agenda;
Whereas the American Legion is a staunch advocate for the principal missions of the Department of Veterans Affairs;
Whereas the American Legion played a principal role in the drafting of the Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill of Rights;
Whereas the American Legion supports employment programs and opportunities for veterans;
Whereas Legionnaires believe a veteran’s service to the United States goes on long after the veteran is discharged from the Armed Forces; and
Whereas many Americans recognize September 16 of each year as American Legion Day: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) supports the goals and ideals of American Legion Day; and
(2) calls upon the people of the United States to observe
Prior to the passage of H. Res. 679, Halvorson issued the following statement from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:
DEBORAH L. HALVORSON
UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
September 15, 2009
H.Res 679, Supporting the goals and ideals of American Legion Day
Thank you, Mr. Speaker,
I was privileged to introduce H. Res 679, supporting the goals and ideals of The American Legion Day on September 16th
This resolution helps to honor the service and sacrifice of the nearly 3 million members, men and women, in nearly 15,000 American Legion posts worldwide.
On September 16, 1919 The American Legion was granted their federal charter by Congress, and 90 years later they have kept their commitment to serve not only as a resource and a voice on behalf of veterans across America, but also as an organization dedicated to the betterment of America through community service.
Since their founding charter, The American Legion has not waved from the guiding principles and vision that can be found in their Four Pillars of Service.
The first pillar is a steadfast commitment to ensure that America has the best fighting force in the world.
Towards this end, The Legion has been a tireless advocate on behalf of the American soldier to make sure that they have the resources and tools they need in order to do their jobs;
The second pillar is making sure that we properly care for our veterans.
And whether it is providing one-on-one assistance to veterans through what can be the confusing and frustrating experience of filing for a disability claim, or walking the halls of Congress to educate Members like me on the legislative issues that are important to our veterans – they do an excellent job of this.
The original GI Bill, for example, helped set the standard for the benefits that we provide to veterans and was spearheaded by The Legion.
The American Legion has been there for our veterans for over 90 years, standing up to serve those who served.
Caring for our youth is the third pillar in The American Legion vision.
The Special Olympics, the Children’s Miracle Network, the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, the American Legion Family Support Network is a short list of the programs the Legion supports.
This list is a testament to their belief that taking care of children in America – and not just veterans’ children – is something that makes our country stronger.
Their final pillar comes from their understanding of the word “Patriot”.
Having fought for and defended our freedom, Legionnaires know first-hand that being a patriot means you must take action to preserve America.
They know that being a “patriot” means not just defending our freedoms, but also defending our heritage, culture, and our Flag.
This pillar has been the foundation for The Legion’s support of programs that instill American values in our youth.
From Boy Scouts to Boys State, they’ve been there setting the course for millions of American children as they learn what it means to be American and why it’s important to serve our country.
The commitment to the Four Pillars of Service has been the cornerstone to The American Legion ideals and to their success.
It serves as a model that all Americans can use to better themselves, and to better America and it has, without question, helped make this country great.
Millions of American’s have been encouraged, supported, and inspired by Legion programs, and this resolution is a small way to say thank you for that.
I’d also like to take a moment to recognize and thank The American Legion Auxiliary.
Also formed in 1919, The Auxiliary has shown the same devotion to our veterans and to our community and they too deserve to be recognized for their service to America.
Finally, I would like to Congratulate Commander Clarence Hill for his recent election as National Commander.
I appreciate his 24 years of service to our nation in the US Navy and wish him the best of luck during his tenure as Commander.
H. Res 679 helps to recognize this extraordinary organization, whose members not only fought to protect our country, but chose to continue to serve it long after their military service ended.
I thank the members of The American Legion and strongly encourage my colleagues to do the same by voting in favor of this resolution.
I thank the Chairman and yield the balance of my time.
The following discussion occurred on the floor of the U.S. Senate on Sept. 10, 2009:
U.S. Senate Passes Resolution making September 16, The American Legion Day
THE AMERICAN LEGION DAY -- (Senate - September 10, 2009)
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Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the Senate proceed to the consideration of S. Res. 260, which was submitted earlier today.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the resolution by title.
The bill clerk read as follows:
A resolution (S. Res. 260) designating September 16, 2009, as ``The American Legion Day.''
There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution.
Ms. SNOWE. Mr. President, I rise to support this legislation I introduced with Senator LINCOLN, Senator COLLINS, and Senator CHAMBLISS, which would officially recognize this Nation's largest veterans' service organization, The American Legion , and its vital role in communities across the Nation, by designating September 16, 2009, as ``The American Legion Day.''
Nothing describes the role of The American Legion more beautifully than its preamble to its constitution which is recited by its members at the beginning of every official meeting.
For God and Country, we associated ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the Master of Might; to promote peace and good will on earth; to safeguard and transmit to Posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.
I think we all would agree that these are extremely lofty goals for any organization, but amazingly The American Legion continues to work towards these objectives--not for themselves, but for America.
Most people are surprised to learn that The American Legion was actually founded in Paris, France. You see World War I veterans remembered the challenges facing other wartime veterans from previous generations and vowed not to let their fellow comrades face the same hardships, especially those with service-connected disabilities. They were concerned with employment opportunities for returning combat veterans. They were concerned about the survivors of combat veterans who had paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. They were concerned about medical care for the wounded and ill returning service members.
Now, as at its founding, The American Legion remains focused on supporting military service members and their families. Since December, The American Legion's Operation Comfort Warrior raised over $170,000 to buy merchandise for Wounded Warriors in military treatment centers around the country. The American Legion also established the ``Heroes to Hometowns'' program which helps local communities prepare ``welcome home'' events when wounded warriors are finally released from military or veterans' affairs medical centers. Since the first Gulf War, The American Legion has maintained its Family Support Network which assists deployed service members and their families, especially members of the National Guard and Reserves. Some requests are for financial assistance, but other requests are simply for household chores, such as lawn work or car maintenance, that would normally be done by the soldier, sailor, airmen, Marine, were they not deployed. No request is too large or too small.
Many Legionnaires can be found in public schools on Veterans' Day or Memorial Day talking about their military service in periods of armed conflict to make sure the next generation of Americans understands the sacrifices and hardships of previous generations of wartime veterans. Legionnaires also teach students about the proper display and care of the Flag of the United States.
The American Legion works closely with the American Red Cross--the largest organization of blood donors and a working partner in disaster assistance. Many American Legion Posts serve as Red Cross and FEMA work centers in areas hit by natural disasters.
The American Legion is also proud of its membership's spirit of volunteerism. Each year, Legionnaires volunteer over a million hours of services in VA and military medical facilities, State veterans' homes, and other such community volunteer opportunities.
And one of the most solemn of functions is providing burial details for fallen comrades of every generation. The American Legion Color Guards, Buglers and Rifle Squads perform thousands of burials in veterans' and private cemeteries around the Nation.
As all of us in this chamber know, The American Legion remains today an active and vigorous advocate for service members, veterans and their families here on Capitol Hill. Among its greatest legislative achievements was the enactment of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, the GI Bill of Rights. The initial draft of the GI Bill was written by Legionnaires at the Mayflower Hotel here in Washington, DC. Many consider the GI Bill as one of the greatest pieces of legislation ever enacted.
Congress presented The American Legion its Federal charter on September 16, 1919; therefore, I think it only fitting that we proclaim September 16, 2009, ``The American Legion Day.'' I sincerely hope that my colleagues will join me in supporting this well-earned measure, demonstrating our mutual esteem and reverence for this outstanding organization.
Mr. WHITEHOUSE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, and the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The resolution (S. Res. 260) was agreed to.
SENATE RESOLUTION 260--DESIGNATING SEPTEMBER 16, 2009, AS ``THE AMERICAN LEGION DAY'' -- (Senate - September 10, 2009)
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Ms. SNOWE (for herself, Mrs. Lincoln, Ms. Collins, and Mr. Chambliss) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:
S. Res. 260
Whereas, on September 16, 1919, Congress issued to the American Legion a Federal charter as a wartime veterans service organization;
Whereas the American Legion remains active in communities at the national, State, and local levels;
Whereas members of the American Legion (commonly referred to as ``Legionnaires'') provide millions of hours of volunteer service to medical facilities of the Department of Veterans Affairs and State homes for veterans throughout the United States;
Whereas the American Legion continues to sponsor activities for children and youth, including the National Oratorical Contest, Boy Scouts, American Legion Baseball, Boys State, and Boys Nation;
Whereas the American Legion awards millions of dollars in college scholarships to young men and women;
Whereas the American Legion National Emergency Fund provides financial assistance to Legionnaires displaced by natural disasters;
Whereas the American Legion Family Support Network provides assistance to members of the Armed Forces of the United States and their families;
Whereas the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation has provided millions of dollars to programs focused on youth in the United States, including the Special Olympics and the Children's Miracle Network;
Whereas the American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance provides grants to veterans with children experiencing financial hardships;
Whereas the American Legion remains second to none in steadfast support of strong national defense;
Whereas the American Legion supports maintaining a viable and principled foreign relations agenda;
Whereas the American Legion is a staunch advocate for the principal missions of the Department of Veterans Affairs;
Whereas the American Legion wrote the original draft of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 (58 Stat. 284, chapter 268), commonly referred to as the ``G. I. Bill of Rights'';
Whereas the American Legion continues to support employment programs and opportunities for veterans; and
Whereas Legionnaires believe that a veteran's service to the United States continues long after the veteran is honorably discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate designates September 16, 2009, as ``The American Legion Day''.
The state of Washington became one of the first states to proclaim Sept. 16 at “The American Legion Day.” That proclamation can be viewed here.