Aug. 26, 1982: The American Legion, at its national convention in Chicago, presents a check for $1 million to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, making it the single largest contributor to the monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The road to its dedication is rough and complicated. Following congressional authorization to raise funds for the memorial on two acres of National Park property in Washington, D.C., the design of Yale architecture student Maya Ying Lin, 23, is chosen twice by two separate panels of judges. Her design, announced as the winner on May 6, 1981, however, had been met with vocal and influential criticism, followed by an initial refusal by the Department of Interior to break ground. The stalled project led The American Legion to call a meeting with Secretary of the Interior James Watt and launch a letter-writing campaign seeking President Reagan’s intervention. The Legion is ultimately credited for ending the government impasse over the design, which finally leads to groundbreaking.
Aug. 26, 2014: The American Legion Legacy Scholarship Fund grows by a record-breaking $1 million at the national convention in Charlotte, N.C. The American Legion Riders raise more than $435,000 for the fund on its largest Legacy Run ever, attracting more than 600 riders. An additional $510,000 is presented from the convention floor, and American Legion Charities adds $53,000 to exceed $1 million. Among the local posts donating to the record-breaking year is Converse, Texas, Post 32 with a contribution of $32,000.