March 17, 1919: Lt. Col. Thomas W. Miller of Delaware, a former member of Congress who enlisted as an infantryman in the Army after an unsuccessful re-election campaign, brings the final day of the Paris Caucus to order. Without a gavel to start the meeting, he pulls from his pocket an 1873 silver dollar, which he always carries with him, and raps it on a table. The day’s business includes choosing the organization’s name, membership eligibility criteria, establishment of an executive committee and the preliminary drafting of a preamble to The American Legion Constitution. Miller would later serve as a national Legislative Committee co-chairman, would co-author the organization’s federal charter, serve on the National Executive Committee both for Delaware and Nevada, and in 1968 would be elected Past National Commander by a vote of the 50th American Legion National Convention in New Orleans.
After much debate on the final day of the Paris Caucus, in a motion reportedly accelerated by hunger just before lunchtime, “American Legion” is chosen and adopted as a temporary name for the association.
March 17, 1919: On the evening after the final session of the Paris Caucus, the first American Legion Executive Committee gathers, chaired by Milton J. Foreman of Chicago, with George A. White of Oregon as secretary and Richard C. Patterson as assistant secretary.
March 17, 1944: The American Legion’s Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 unanimously passes in the Senate.