Throwback Thursday – American Legion Celebrates 100 Years

The American Legion is celebrating a century of progress this year. First established in 1919 following the end of WWI, the American Legion has made huge impacts on communities across the country. Bowling Green is home to American Legion Post 23.

A century ago, American troops in Europe eagerly awaited passage home. A small group of soldiers met in Paris to discuss their mission when they returned to the states. By May, a group met in St. Louis to establish the organization. Its first publication was released July 4, 1919.

The American Legion was officially chartered by Congress to elect officers and adopt a constitution a couple of months later, and the group’s first official convention was held in Minneapolis in November. The American Legion was the forefront for supporting veterans after active military service, pushing for assisting the disabled, establishing the Veterans Bureau, setting a code of conduct for the American flag, and more.

By the 1930s, the veterans’ health and proper hospitals with appropriate care were paramount to the American Legion’s mission. The Legion played a huge role in the passage of the G.I. Bill following WWII, fighting for veteran employment and better hiring practices. The Korean War and Vietnam War would also bring updates to G.I. Bills when troops returned home from war.

By the mid-1970s, the Legion was heavily fighting for recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) relief. Veterans were showing extreme PTSD symptoms and the Legion strived to educate. With each new conflict, the U.S. entered came more action from the American Legion in support of veterans and active military returning home.

The American Legion Post 23 in Bowling Green hosts bingo nights weekly, a Canteen social, and gives back to the community.