American Legion: Celebrating 100 years

The American Legion is a veteran organization that helps veterans, their families and their local communities.

What is the American Legion?

The American Legion is a veteran organization that helps veterans, their families and their local communities. It supports a whole host of family and youth support services and provides assistance and resources to military families during and after service to their country.

Some of the family and youth events supported are:

• Scholarships — The American Legion manages and delivers millions to youth for college.

• Baseball — Which help promote healthy competition, sportsmanship and good citizenship.

• Boys State/Nation — Students learn firsthand how government and democracy work.

• Oratorical — A speaking challenge that teaches leadership and nation’s history.

• Junior Shooting Sports — Teaching safety, marksmanship and competition that helps produce Olympians.

• Youth Cadet Law Enforcement — Law enforcement education that instills respect for law officials.

• Scouting — The American Legion sponsors more than 3,500 scouting units.

In the community

Some of the community events supported are:

Legion Riders — Motorcycling veterans and supporters riding in service to others.

Operation Comfort Warriors — Providing comfort items, recreational experiences for recovering troops.

National Emergency Fund — When disasters strike, the Legion steps up for communities.

Amateur Radio Club — The American Legion is a national leader of amateur radio.

Homeless veterans — Veterans who need assistance have a friend in the American Legion.

Volunteering — From youth sports to VA info desks, the Legion offers time and energy.

National programs

Some of the events supported on a national level are:

Citizenship — Veterans helping immigrants become U.S. citizens.

Legislative — Taking action on veterans’ issues and American Legion priorities.

Washington Conference — The voice of the veterans amplified by the American Legion on Capitol Hill.

National conference — America’s largest annual gathering of veterans and patriotic families.

Flag advocacy — Learn about our nation’s colors and their proper display.

National security — Standing by our troops and their mission.

The organization includes military veterans (American Legion members), sons of veterans (Sons of the American Legion), or daughters and wives of veterans (American Legion Auxiliary — the worlds largest women’s patriotic service organization). They help to support Legion programs though their annual dues, commitment of time and service, and willingness to support their community.

Offered to those who serve as a legionnaire are many discounts — auto rentals, medical, moving and relocation expenses, postage services, retail, travel and lodging, and finally the bar and meeting hall where legionnaires enjoy a sense of camaraderie.

We encourage you to join our American Legion team.

• To be a legionnaire, you must have served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces during any of the war eras listed here, have been honorably discharged, or are actively serving: World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Lebanon/Grenada, Panama, Gulf War/War on Terrorism.

U.S. Merchant Marine eligible only from Dec. 7, 1941, to Dec 31, 1946.

• Sons of the American Legion: For all male descendants, adopted sons and stepsons of veterans eligible to join the American Legion, or veterans who died in war eras.

• American Legion Auxiliary: for grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives, and direct and adopted female descendants of veterans eligible to join the American Legion, or of veterans who died during war service.

• American Legion Riders: Chapters are well known for their charitable work, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for children’s hospitals, schools, veterans’ homes and scholarships. Riders must be current member of a Legion organization.

If you are interested in joining the American Legion, please stop by Post 59 at 16 Stowe St., Waterbury, or call 244-8144. We are open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday 3 to 9, Friday 3 to 11, Saturday 3 to 10 and Sunday 1 to 8.

You can also go online at or call nationally at 800-433-3318.

Kevin Sherman is service officer of American Legion Post 59 in Waterbury.

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