HANNIBAL — The American Legion Auxiliary is celebrating a century of service in 2019-2020.
Members are part of the American Legion Family, which includes not only The American Legion, but the American Legion Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Riders. None of these organizations would exist without the American Legion, and all were created as veterans support organizations.
The American Legion Auxiliary was founded Nov. 10, 1919, just a few months after the American Legion. The American Legion was formed following World War I by combat troops of the American Expeditionary Forces in Paris, in 1919. The Legion was later chartered by Congress.
The Legion served as a support group, a social club, and an extended family for former servicemen. After its formation, several women's organizations wanted to become the official affiliation of the American Legion. However, after taking this into consideration, members of the American Legion decided that a new organization should be formed. The Legionnaires wanted this new organization to be made up of the women most closely associated with the men of the Legion. The American Legion Auxiliary was established, and in less then one year, more than 1,300 local units were organized in more than 45 states.
Today, the American Legion Auxiliary is the world's largest patriotic service organization. The American Legion Auxiliary has more than 600,000 members nationwide. Their mission is to support the American Legion and serve veterans, military, and their families — a mission that has remained unchanged for 100 years.
The American Legion Auxiliary co-sponsors the annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. This nationwide program at VA medical facilities is a form of rehabilitative treatment to help veterans with physical or emotional disabilities.
American Legion Auxiliary programs also teach youth how to be good citizens. Units across the country conduct Junior Activities programs to help younger members develop leadership skills. High school juniors learn how to become leaders at the American Legion Auxiliary's Girls State Program and Girls Nation program.
American Legion Auxiliary members volunteer more than 12 million hours each year. The estimated value of volunteer service is $1.1 billion. They invite you to join them today by becoming a member, a volunteer or an advocate for the America Legion and its mission. You can help them move into the next century of “Service Not Self.”