American Legion Auxiliary
|Motto||Service not self|
|Purpose||Supporting the American Legion and honoring veterans, military and their families.|
|Headquarters||8945 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana|
National Vice President
Sons of the American Legion,
American Legion Riders
Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. With a membership of 3/4 million, local American Legion Auxiliary units have a strong presence in more than 8,600 communities nationwide. American Legion Auxiliary members and volunteers serve veterans, military and their families through countless volunteer hours, programs and an increased presence in Washington, D.C.
The American Legion Auxiliary’s mission, in the spirit of service not self, is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve. The American Legion Auxiliary has done just that for nearly 100 years.
The idea for the American Legion came about when 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A. E. F.) were asked to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans, which we know today as the American Legion. After its formation, a number of women's organizations wanted to become the official affiliation of the Legion. The women who had served so faithfully during the trying days of the war wanted to continue to serve. After careful consideration, the committee agreed that a new organization should be made up of the women most closely associated with the men of The Legion, and that these women would serve with the Legion, in peace as they had in war. The committee decided to build a new organization from the ground up, so the Auxiliary could then carry forward the phases of Legion activities more suitably performed by women. In less than one year, 1,342 local units of the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Legion had been organized in more than 45 states.
The American Legion Auxiliary is responsible for various programs including Girls State, Girls Nation, the Poppy program, the Veteran Affairs and Rehabilitation program and more. The Poppy program connects the image of the poppy with the sacrifice of men and women who have served and died during war. Since the programs inception in 1924, members have distributed poppies, most handmade, in exchange for contributions to assist active-duty military, veterans and their families.
The Veteran Affairs & Rehabilitation program promotes the mission to enhance the lives of those the Auxiliary serves by providing opportunities for members to serve as volunteers at VA health care facilities.
The ALA Girls State and Girls Nation programs give aspiring young women leaders the opportunity to learn the importance of responsible citizenship. During Girls State, students are assigned to a mock city and spend a week learning about the political process. Each year two young women are selected from each Girls State program to travel to Washington, D.C. Girls Nation. During the program students run for office, elect a Girls Nation president, meet government officials and visit the White House.
These are just a few of the many programs that the American Legion Auxiliary officers. In 2013 it was estimated that the value of one hour of volunteer service. American Legion Auxiliary members have volunteered more than 9.3 million hours, for a collective value of more than $2.1 billion.