June 23, 1935: Legionnaires Harold Card and Hayes Kennedy organize the first American Legion Boys State at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Meant to counter the Soviet Union’s communist Young Pioneer camps, Boys State quickly catches on as a program to teach young Americans their rights, privileges and responsibilities as franchised citizens, as they set up their own city, county and state governments and elect representatives. Each participant is instructed in the duties of public office, learning its function, powers and limitations.
June 23, 2017: Created to hold VA employees more accountable, with American Legion support, the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 is signed into law at the White House. The act gives the VA secretary greater authority to terminate the employment of staff and managers who fail to meet the needs of veterans in the VA health-care system.