The American Legion played a significant role in the creation of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which later evolved into the Veterans Administration (VA). Founded in 1919, the American Legion has been a leading advocate for veterans’ health care and earned benefits for over 90 years.
In 1930, their efforts resulted in the establishment of the U.S. Veterans Bureau, which served as a precursor to the VA. The American Legion continued to support the VA’s growth, and in 1989, it achieved Cabinet status, becoming the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The Legion’s commitment to veterans’ well-being remains steadfast, with a nationwide network of accredited service officers and professional staff assisting veterans in obtaining the benefits and care they deserve.
The VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and the American Legion are both support organizations for war veterans that were established after the United States Military engaged in foreign wars abroad.
Periods of eligibility and eligibility requirements are the key differences between the American Legion and the VFW.
The VFW accepts memberships from all current and former military veterans who have received a campaign medal for their service overseas. They must have served at least 30 consecutive days or 60 nonconsecutive days in Korea, or they must be veterans who have received imminent danger or hostile fire pay at any time.
The American Legion extends eligibility to active-duty personnel or honorably discharged veterans who have served in any of seven eligible war eras, beginning with World War I. Reservists and National Guard members are eligible as well.
Thanks to the LEGION Act (Let Everyone Get Involved In Opportunities for National Service Act) that was signed into law July 30, 2019, the current eligibility period is Dec. 7, 1941, to the present, and includes the current war campaigns.
Previously, there were seven declared war periods. Now there are two, the current war period dating back to World War II and another war era covering World War I. No other restrictions to American Legion membership changed.
Yes, you are a veteran. So as long as you have served at least one day of federal active duty during any qualifying period, you are eligible for membership providing you have an honorable/generable under honorable discharge.