Adjutant's Updates

Today in the History of The American Legion

In American Legion history:

  • Oct. 15, 1926: The team from American Legion Cook Post 321 of Yonkers, NY, defeats Pocatello, Idaho, by a score of 23-6 in the first American Legion Baseball World Series in Philadelphia. More than 1,100 spectators attend. The cost of running the world series, however, leads to a two-year hiatus until adequate funding can be obtained.
  • Oct. 15, 1926: At the 8th American Legion National Convention in Philadelphia, Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing and Marshal Ferdinand Foch of France receive an honor bestowed upon no one else – election as honorary commander of The American Legion. “Legionnaires, it is a great pleasure to be here, and I want you all to know you can always count on me as one of you, as standing shoulder to shoulder, as we did together during the war,” Pershing tells the crowd after receiving the recognition.
    Oct. 15, 1953: An American Legion committee is approved to study the feasibility of a special fund for children’s programs after former American Legion Department of Arkansas Commander Dr. Garland Murphy, Jr., offers to the national organization fractional rights to 10,000 acres of oil-rich land he owns in the Williston Basin of Montana and North Dakota. In return, Murphy asks that proceeds from the contribution be used solely to serve children. Out of this contribution is born the American Legion’s Child Welfare Foundation.
  • Oct. 16, 1989: After years of intense lobbying from The American Legion, the U.S. Court of Veterans Appeals is established to give veterans disputing their federal benefits decisions a place in the federal judiciary to have their cases heard and decided.
  • Oct. 16, 2015: Embattled VA Under Secretary for Benefits Brig. Gen. (ret.) Allison Hickey resigns from her position after an Inspector General’s report says she helped two employees manipulate the VA hiring system for personal gain.
  • Oct. 17, 1923: The American Legion National Convention in San Francisco passes a resolution (still in effect) that expresses its firm support of equal rights and opportunities “without distinction as to race, color, creed or class.” The resolution, which also condemns any individual, group or organization that “creates or fosters racial, religious or class strife among our people, or which takes into their own hands the enforcement of law, determination of guilt, or infliction of punishment, to be un-American, a menace to our liberties and destructive to our fundamental law.”
  • Oct. 17, 2012: Theodore Roosevelt IV, grandson of American Legion founding member Theodore Roosevelt Jr., is named chairman of the organization’s 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee.
  • Oct. 18, 1978: The American Legion National Executive Committee passes a resolution in support of studies into the health effects of the defoliant Agent Orange and other toxic agents during the Vietnam War. The resolution offers the Legion’s assistance in finding exposed veterans and calls on service officers nationwide to help veterans develop and file appropriate claims with the VA.
  • Oct. 18, 1923: The American Legion National Convention in San Francisco passes a resolution to reiterate earlier resolutions for “Congress to immediately enact a law providing for the erection of a suitable Archives Building” to house documents, artifacts and, emphatically, world war military records. “These non-replaceable records are now stored in buildings of such a character that their preservation is menaced through fire and other hazards, and certain of these records have already been destroyed,” the resolution states.
  • Oct. 18, 1923: Buoyed by an initiative called “The Iowa Idea” advocated by Past National Commander Hanford MacNider, the 11,000-post American Legion is abuzz with community service enthusiasm at its fifth national convention, in San Francisco. All American Legion posts are called upon to actively collaborate with civic organizations at the local level to improve “schools, recreation, park and playground facilities… medical clinics, municipal music concerts, public forums, community buildings, city planning, and all forms of better citizenship movements… every enterprise which will further the well-being, health and happiness of the community.” The National Americanism Commission is given lead responsibility and is tasked with creating a Community and Civic Betterment Bureau. The resolution fuels American Legion grassroots efforts already under way in communities throughout the nation and leads to a flurry of projects – parks, pools, theaters, health-care facilities and more – throughout the United States.
  • Oct. 18, 2000: The American Legion Overseas Graves Decoration Trust Fund is authorized to send $25,000 to help repair and restore the 1928-built Lafayette Escadrille Memorial near Paris. The site, a massive memorial crypt containing sarcophagi of 68 American aviators who died fighting with the French as part of the unique squadron, would be restored in 2015 and 2016, and in 2017, its ownership would be transferred to the American Battle Monuments Commission.
  • Oct. 18, 2007: Legion Riders becomes an official American Legion program of the national Internal Affairs Commission.
  • Oct. 18, 2017: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th District rules 2-1 that the Bladensburg, Md., Peace Cross honoring the memories of those who died fighting in World War I “has the primary effect of endorsing religion and excessively entangles the government in religion.” The monument, erected in 1925 by members of The American Legion, appears destined for a showdown in the U.S. Supreme Court, which has been unclear in its rulings about veterans memorials with symbols perceived as religious on public ground.
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