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The World's Largest Veterans Organization
History of the American Legion
The American Legion was founded in 1919 by veterans returning from Europe after World War 1 and was chartered by the U.S. Congress in the same year as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization. A community-service organization which now numbers nearly 2 million members -- men and women -- in nearly 12,000 American Legion Posts worldwide. These Posts are organized into 55 Departments -- one each for the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines. Paris Post #1 is one of the first international posts of The American Legion having received our first charter on the 13th of December 1919.
First American Legion Caucus in Paris' 7th Arrondissement in March 1919
The American Legion’s Post Officers Guide recounts the organization’s founding: "A group of twenty officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France in World War I is credited with planning the Legion. A.E.F. Headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore (Ted) Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans. In 1919, this group formed a temporary committee and selected several hundred officers who had the confidence and respect of the whole army. When the first organization meeting took place in Paris in March 1919, about 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended.
Plaque at the site of the 1st American Legion Caucus in Paris located in the 7th arrondissement
The meeting, known as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary constitution and the name “The American Legion”. It also elected an executive committee to complete the organization’s work. It considered each soldier of the A.E.F. a member of the Legion. The executive committee named a subcommittee to organize veterans at home in the U.S.A. The Legion held a second organizing caucus in St. Louis, Missouri, in May 1919.”
There was a race to see which post would be the first to be chartered by The American Legion. As is confirmed by The National Library of The American Legion, and its official supporting documents, the first post of the American Legion was George Washington Post 1 in Washington, D.C. Organized March 7, 1919, it obtained the first charter issued to any post of The American Legion on May 19, 1919. Paris Post #1 applied for its charter, and the post was approved in November 1919. The charter was officially dated December 13, 1919.
Paris Post 1 is the first international post of the American Legion, and we have been serving veterans and carrying on the legacy for over 100 years.
The American Legion Today
The American Legion's national headquarters is in Indianapolis, Indiana, with additional offices in Washington, DC. In addition to thousands of volunteers serving in leadership and program implementation capacities in local communities to the Legion's standing national commissions and committees, the national organization has a regular full-time staff of about 300 employees.
For over 100 years, The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion have worked steadfastly, side by side, promoting patriotism and national security while supporting youth and advocating for veterans and active-duty military. The Legion Family also includes American Legion Riders, a program of motorcycle enthusiasts. Members join through a Riders chapter at an American Legion post.
While members of The American Legion Family are individually unique, collectively we are a multi-million member powerhouse of caring advocates dedicated to veterans services. You and your family can join us at Paris Post 1!
You will find that getting connected to The American Legion Family is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make when living outside the USA.
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Historic note: In a subsequent meeting in New York, Theodore Roosevelt was nominated to become The Legion’s first National Commander, but he declined to accept the nomination. He went on to become an American political and business leader. He was a Medal of Honor recipient who fought in both World War I and World War II. He was the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt. He served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of Puerto Rico (1929-32), Governor-General of the Philippines (1932-33), Chairman of the Board of the American Express Company, as Vice-President at Doubleday Books, and as a Brigadier General in the United States Army. He died in France during the World War II on July 12, 1944, and he is buried in the American Cemetery in Normandy. We will never forget Legionnaire Roosevelt.
Paris Post 1 is proud to have an active group of Legionnaires, Auxiliary and Sons in France!
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