Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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March 15th
The American Legion
Shortly after World War I ended, twenty officers of the American Expeditionary Forces met in Paris with orders to confer on how the Army could improve troop morale. One of the officers, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of President Theodore Roosevelt, suggested an idea that had already crossed many of the men’s minds: an organization in which veterans could stay in touch, help each other, and work together after the fighting was over.

The officers wasted no time putting the idea into action. On March 15, 1919, about one thousand U.S. soldiers gathered in Paris for the very first meeting of the American Legion.

Today the Legion is the nation’s largest veterans’ organization, with about 2.6 million members. Men and women may join if they have served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during times of hostilities, such as World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Iraq War.

The Legion’s purpose is partly to help veterans continue friendships formed during military service. It also gives members a way to keep serving their country. The American Legion has built parks and playgrounds, donated equipment to hospitals and fire halls, sponsored Boy Scout troops and youth baseball leagues, promoted the study of the Constitution in schools, and much more.

For God and Country is the American Legion motto. The organization has 14,000 posts worldwide. There is probably one near you, and your community is almost certainly a better place for it.

American History Parade
1767
Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president, is born in the Waxhaw area of South Carolina.

1781
British troops win a Pyrrhic victory at Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, a battle that helps push them to Yorktown.

1820
Maine becomes the twenty-third state.

1892
In New York State, voting machines are first authorized for use in elections.

1916
U.S. troops under General John J. Pershing cross the Mexican border in pursuit of Pancho Villa.

1919
The American Legion is founded in Paris.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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