The American Legion, commonly known as the Legion, is a non-profit organization of U.S. war veterans headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It is made up of state, U.S. territory, and overseas departments, and these are in turn made up of local posts. The organization was formed on March 15, 1919, in Paris, France, by a thousand officers and men of the American Expeditionary Forces and it was chartered on September 16, 1919, by the United States Congress. 

   The Legion played the leading role in drafting and passing the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, commonly known as the “G.I. Bill”. In addition to organizing commemorative events, members provide assistance at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals and clinics. It is active in issue-oriented U.S. politics. Its primary political activity is lobbying on behalf of interests of veterans and service members, including support for benefits such as pensions and the Veterans Health Administration. It has also historically promoted Americanism, individual obligation to the community, state, and nation; peace and good will.

   Membership in The American Legion was originally restricted to soldiers, sailors, and marines who served honorably between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918.

Eligibility has since been expanded to include personnel who served on active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States or armed forces associated with the U.S.

•Between December 7, 1941, through a date of cessation of hostilities as determined by the federal government, and was an American citizen when they entered that service or continues to serve honorably.

•U.S. Merchant Marines who served between December 7, 1941, and December 31, 1946, are also eligible. 

•Honorary, associate, social, or guest memberships in the Legion are not permitted. Members must be eligible through the nature and timing of their military service.

   The national headquarters, informally known as American Legion headquarters, is located on the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza at 700 North Pennsylvania Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. It is the headquarters for the National Commander of The American Legion and also houses the archives, library, Membership, Internal Affairs, Public Relations, and The American Legion magazine’s editorial offices. The national headquarters has expanded multiple times since its establishment.

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