NORWICH – Following the signing of the Armistice ending World War I, officers of the American Expeditionary Forces proposed an organization of veterans to help improve troop morale. In March 1919, at a meeting in Paris, the name “The American Legion” and a temporary constitution were adopted. A second meeting in May 1919 at St. Louis, MO completed the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization.
The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help war-time veteran’s organization. Now numbering nearly 3 million members focusing on service to veterans, servicemembers, and communities, the Legion is one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.
Over the years the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for veterans, and produced many important programs for children and youth. Legion efforts resulted in the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of the Veterans Administration, the American Legion Baseball program, Boys State, and the “GI Bill of Rights”.