Today in American Legion history:

June 9, 1921: Highly decorated World War I Army Col. Frederic W. Galbraith of Ohio is killed in an automobile accident in Indianapolis while serving as second national commander of The American Legion. A revered leader in the fight for veterans benefits and care, his death makes national news, and thousands attend his funeral in Cincinnati, where a memorial now stands in his honor.

June 9-10, 1944: The American Legion works feverishly to find U.S. Rep. John Gibson, who is at home in Georgia while the fate of the GI Bill is hung up in a House-Senate conference committee in Washington, deadlocked 3-3. If the tie cannot be broken, the legislation will die in committee. The Legion gets through to an operator in Atlanta who calls Gibson’s home every five minutes until he answers at 11 p.m. The Legion, assisted by military and police escorts, take Gibson on 90-mile high-speed trip through a rainstorm to the Jacksonville, Fla., airport where he is flown to Washington, arriving shortly after 6 a.m. He casts the vote to send the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 to the president’s desk and promises to make public those who vote against it, along with their reasons.

June 9-13, 2014: The American Legion conducts the first in a 15-month nationwide series of town hall meetings and assistance efforts to help veterans facing difficulties with VA. The first stop in the series is Phoenix where 590 veterans receive face-to-face, firsthand American Legion help with their VA health-care and benefits problems. Called a Veterans Crisis Command Center, the Phoenix event extends American Legion assistance on VA enrollment, appointment scheduling, benefits applications and appeals representation. One veteran discovers at the Legion activity that she is eligible for $60,000 in retroactive disability compensation that was due to her.