The American Legion Department of Tennessee


Month & Day



 March 15-17 1919 The American Legion is founded in Paris by members of the
 American Expeditionary Force.
 September 16 1919 The U S. Congress charters The American Legion.
 November 10-12 1919 First national convention of The American Legion convenes in
 Minneapolis, Minn.  Organization's Constitution and Preamble
 are adopted.  Resolution adopted supporting the Boy Scouts
 of American as first youth program.
 August 9 1921 U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of the Veterans Administration,
 is created as a result of efforts by The American Legion.
 June 15 1923 First "Flag Code" is drafted during conference called by The
 American Legion.  Congress adopted the code in 1942.
 July 17 1925 American Legion Baseball program is created.
 June 23 1935 First American Legion Boys State convenes in Springfield, Ill.
 June 1 1938 First American Legion National High School Oratorical Championship
 held in Norman, Okla.
 September 19-21 1942 Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion is changed for
 the first and only time since it was written in 1919.  The word "War" is 
 changed to "Wars."
 December 15 1943 Harry W. Colmery, past national commander of The American Legion,
 writes in longhand on hotel stationery the first draft of what will become the
 "GI Bill of Rights."
 June 22 1944 President Franklin Roosevelt signs The GI Bill into law.
 May 29 1946 A $50,000 grant from the American Legion and the American Legion
 Auxiliary is presented to a small, struggling organization - the American
 Heart Association - to inaugurate a nationwide program for the study,
 prevention and treatment of rheumatic heart disease.
 May 4 1950 The American Legion votes to contribute funds to the field of mental
 health with the provision that the three major mental health organizations
 then in existence be amalgamated into one.  They accepted this provision
 and the National Association for Mental Health was born.
 July 9 1954 The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation is formed.
 September 1 1966 The American Legion voices great concern over the fate of POWs
 in Vietnam.
 August 26 1982 The American Legion presents a $1million check to the Vietnam
 Veterans Memorial Fund toward the construction of 'The Wall' in
 Washington, D.C.
 July 21 1983 The American Legion announces its sponsorship of an independent
 study of the effects of exposure to Agent Orange on Vietnam veterans. 
 (The results of "The American Legion Columbia University Study of
 Vietnam-era Veterans' were presented to Congress in 1989.)
 January 1 1989 The Department of Veterans Affairs begins operations.  The American
 Legion fought for the VA to become a cabinet-level department, arguing
 that veterans deserved representation in the highest conuncils fo government.
 October 16 1989 Longstanding objective of The American Legion is achieved as the
 U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals begins operations.
 October 11 1990 The Family Support Netword of The American Legion is formed to
 assist the families of military personnel deployed during Operation
 Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
 June 15 1991 The American Legion's first Junior Shooting Sports National Air
 Rifle Championships are held at the Olympic Training Center at
 Colorado Springs, Colo.
 April 5 1993 The First class of recently discharged veterans begins training in
 Sterling, VA for eventual placement in well-paying jobs in the
 construction industry.  The landmark training and job-placement
 program is a joint effort by The American Legion and the Laborers'
 International Union of North America.
 August 24 1994 The American Legion announces creation of the Citizens Flag
 Alliance to work for a constitutional amendment to protect the
 American flag from physical desecration.
 September 24 1994 The American Legion announces partnership with the Smithsonian
 Institute's Air and Space Museum to develop an exhibit for the bomber
 Enola Gay, which droped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. 
 Previous museum plans and drawn intense criticism from veterans,
 scholars and the public.
 January 30 1995 The American Legion announces acceptance of scaled-down
 exhibit "without political commentary" for the Enola Gay, ending
 the greatest controversy in the Smithsonian Institute's 149-year history.
 October 1 1995 The American Legion forms a Persian Gulf Tast Force to
 enhance the organization's service to these veterans.
 September 16 1996 The first $20,000 postsecondary scholarship in the Samsung -
 American Legion High School Scholars program are
 granted to 10 students.
 June 11 1997 The American Legion National Emergency Fund exceeds the $1
 million mark in grants to flood victims in Ohio, Kentrucky, Indiana,
 Minnesota, and North Dakota.
 September 3 1997 The first National Law Enforcement Office of the Year award is
 presented during the 79th National Convention in Orlando, Fla.
 March 28 2000 The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the
 Sons of The American Legion donate $2.7 million to the World
 War II Memorial Fund.  Donations exceed 3.4 million by year end.
 September 5 2000 The American Legion presents the first "Spirit of Service"
 Award to active duty service members for their off-duty volunteer
 August 28-30 2001 The American Legion passes resolution to rekindle Blue Star
 Service Banner program.
 September 12 2001 The American Legion reactivates the Family Support Network
 following terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.
 October 10-11 2001 The American Legion creates the American Legacy Scholarship
 Fund for children of military members killed on active duty on or after
 September 11, 2001
 September 11 2002 The American Legion takes lead in conducting "A Day To Remember"
 events to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the nation.
 November 8 2002 The American Legion launches national "I Am Not A Number"
 campaign to identify and document the delays veterans face in
 obtaining earned medical care benefits from the Department of
 Veterans Affairs.
 October 17 2003 American Legion efforts on Capitol Hill break the deadlock on
 the Disabled Veterans Tax when Congress creates a 10-year
 phase-in for service-connected disabled retirees to receive military
 retired pay and VA disability compensation without subtraction from
 either.  Legion efforts also result in passage of the Military Family
 Tax Relief Act.
 September 3 2004 American Legion lobbying leads to more progress in elimination
 of the Disabled Veterans Tax with passage of PL 108-375 that
 eliminates the 10-year phase-in for 100 percent service-connected
 retirees, allowing them to immediately begin receiving both retired
 pay and VA disability payments.
 September 19 2004 The American Legion launches a national program, the Blue Star
 Salute, where posts across the country hold public events to
 recognize troops, their families and local businesses on Armed
 Forces Day.
 May 7 2005 The American Legion lobbied successfully to remove from VA
 funding legislation administration-proposed increases in VA
 prescription co-payments and institution of user fee for Priority
 Group 8 veterans using VA health facilities.  Efforts focus on
 legislation to provide mandatory, vice discretionary, funding of
 VA health care.
 June 30 2008 President George W. Bush signs the Post-911 Veterans
 Education Assistance Act, a modern GI Bill strongly supported
 by The American Legion, which lobbied on its behalf.
 October 22 2009 President Barack Obama signs the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform Act of 2009, guaranteeing "advance funding" for VA appropriations, a formula that The American Legion has strongly supported for many years.  The new law sets funding for VA on year in advance.