When you hear the words The American Legion, what goes through your mind? A place for old men to meet? A Bingo hall? Or even a Bar? The American Legion is much more than that. It is the largest wartime veterans service organization, with close to 2 million members and more than 12,000 posts across America. Established in 1919, after World War I, The American Legion, or Legion, was instrumental in getting Congress to pass the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, known as the GI Bill, and it was even responsible for the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Today, The Legion is active in issue-oriented U.S. politics, lobbying on behalf of interests of veterans and service members. Pushing through the PACT was an example of a recent success. The Legion has long promoted Americanism. What is Americanism? It is an obligation to assist the community, state, and nation. The organization is active in supporting current military members and veterans. The Legion sponsors American Legion Baseball, American Legion Boys State, Oratorical contests, and other youth activities.
This last week, I was in Indianapolis attending the National American Legion College (NALC), so I didn’t have an opportunity to interview any Rosebud County veterans. I will tell you that this week, although challenging, was a great week. I was able to meet other men and women across the nation who were serving in leadership positions at their department, district, or post. The NALC not only enhanced my knowledge of the Legion, but the course also taught the core values and contributions of the organization. NALC is the highest level of education offered by The American Legion. Throughout the week, the team I was assigned to learned about basic leadership skills and other skills to assist us with our duties in The American Legion. Capping the week off, we were all able to meet the National American Legion commander, Daniel Seehafer.
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Dr. Irene Dickerson has a doctorate in Business Administration and is a retired Army Colonel living her best life in Big Sky Country.