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The American Legion ----- Still Serving America

The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans group in the nation, with approximately 2.8 million members. In recent years, a new generation of wartime veterans has become eligible to join. The American Legion, the millions of service men and women who served on duty during the Persian Gulf War, Somalia and Haiti. Their wartime service gives them eligible, just as those who served during Grenada, Panama and Lebanon. Today's active duty service men and women are currently eligible for Legion membership, because the Persian Gulf period has not yet been declared over by the U.S. government.

Not only is the Legion the largest, it is the most active veteran's organization. Veterans care and benefits have always been at the top of The American Legion agenda. The Legion constantly battles for adequate funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, especially to restore veterans' medical care to a level promised them by a government they swore to serve and defend. The Legion has introduced comprehensive proposals to improve the VA Health Care System and to reform its unfair and complicated eligibility rules.

The Legion has long been the leader of the efforts to gain adequate care and compensation for Vietnam veterans and their families affected by exposure to Agent Orange and for those who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Based upon that experience, the Legion was among the first to call attention to the phenomenon of strange illness reported by those who served in the Persian Gulf, and thus demanded that those sick veterans be compensated for service-oriented illnesses.

Because of drastic downsizing of the armed forces , The American Legion has voiced strong and consistent concern for out nation's national defense. Today's men and women in uniform are some of America's finest citizens: yet, they are over deployed and underpaid. The American Legion is reconnecting with those in uniform to help them at the local level while pushing hard at the top levels of government for essential increases in pay and funding.

More than a veterans organization, The American Legion stands second to none in patriotism and has led the movement to return to the people their right to protect the American Flag from acts of physical desecration.

With the formation of the Citizens Flag Alliance, a coalition of like-minded organizations founded in 1944 by The American Legion, the voice of the people is heard in Congress. Forty-nine state legislatures have petitioned Congress to send them a flag-protection amendment for ratification. Legislation to achieve protection will be considered in the 107th Congress.

The American Legion is dedicated to improving America through involved and committed volunteerism. The Legion donates more blood than any other organization in the country. In 1999-2000, Legionnaires gave more than $28 million to Children and Youth programs, such as its long-standing sponsorship of American Legion Baseball, Boys State and Boys Nation, and Boy Scouts. More than $9 million was donated to charitable organizations such as the United Way and Red Cross. And last year, Legionnaires gave more than 3.9 million hours in volunteer service to their communities and VA hospitals.

Those who stood to defend their nation in time of war... who continue to stand for a strong national defense in a changing world...and who steadfastly work to preserve the fabric of the nation...that is today's American Legion, STILL SERVING AMERICA


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