This week in Legion History:
- 28, 1920: The American Legion Auxiliary, already off and running in more than 1,300 communities worldwide, is given The American Legion’s official sanction as an affiliated organization and authorizes it to call for a national convention of its own, the following year in Kansas City.
- 28, 1944: American Legion founder Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on D-Day at Utah Beach, having repeatedly led groups of soldiers across the beach and past the seawall, without concern for his own safety, under fire.
- 29, 1920: The American Legion Committee on Americanism becomes a national commission.
- 29, 1946: A.R. McAlester Memorial Band of Harrowed Post 5 in Joliet, Ill., claims its first Lemuel Bolles Trophy, awarded annually to the first-place band in The American Legion National Convention contest. Post 5 would go on to win the trophy 22 of the next 24 years, and Joliet Post 1284 would claim first place at the convention 11 times between 1971 and 1997, and Joliet Post 1080 would win it in 2003, 2006 and 2007, making Joliet the perennial home of American Legion band championships.
- 29 – Oct. 2, 2014: After 11 successful Veterans Crisis Command Centers throughout the country – from Charlotte, N.C., to Honolulu – The American Legion shifts the message of its outreach program to better reflect efforts by local VA staff to assist frustrated veterans. Renamed “Veterans Benefits Centers,” the events continue through much of 2015. Hundreds of veterans and their families receive firsthand assistance and more than $1 million in overdue retroactive disability benefits are paid to veterans whose cases were bogged down in the system.
- 30, 1946: Famed entertainer and devoted USO touring star Bob Hope receives The American Legion’s Distinguished Service Medal during the 28th American Legion National Convention in San Francisco. There, American Legion Past National Commander John R. Quinn calls Hope “the personal jester of every man and woman in uniform… Wherever they were – in foxhole, Quonset hut, jungle or warship – he administered the toxin of cheer and laughter… He has flown one-half million miles to perform in the din of the front lines as well as in the hush of hospitals.”