A new law was recently passed know as the LEGION Act, and it will allow thousands of honorably discharged veterans to be able to join the American Legion. The Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunites for National Service Act pushes the date for eligibility into the American Legion all the way back to December 7th, 1941 which means that veterans who were considered to be serving during periods of peacetime between wars will not be allowed to join. Previous eligibility had only been open to veterans who had served during declared periods such as World War II, The Korean War, and Vietnam, but now eligibility is much more open allowing many more veterans to join.

What Is The American Legion?

Created by Congress in 1919 as an organization for patriotic veterans devoted to mutual helpfulness, The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization with over 2 million wartime veterans and works to towards such things as mentoring youth in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued loyalty towards other servicemembers and veterans. The Legion has hundred of programs and activities meant to strengthen their communities, such as American Legion Baseball or The Operation Comfort Warriors program which supports recovering wounded warriors as well as their families. They provide them with “comfort items” and other things that can make a hospital feel more like home. Beyond that, the Legion raises money for donations at the local, state and national levels in order to help veterans, their families, and even to provide college scholarship opportunities.

Why Is This Important?

While The American Legion had 7 recognized wartime periods of eligibility for joining prior to this bill, there were still plenty of troops that served in between those periods, such as during the Cold War. It’s estimated that around 1,600 United States service members were either wounded or killed during hostile operations that occurred during periods not previously recognized as wartime by the federal government. This means that there are a lot of veterans who have not been able to benefit from being part of The American Legion. President Trump is due to sign the bill soon, which will help these previously unrecognized veterans join a community of veterans while also taking advantage of the unique resources The Legion can provide for them.