With the 100th anniversary of the American Legion in 2019, historic legislation was passed expanding and redefining The American Legion's membership eligibility dates.
With President Trump’s signature on the Legion Act, the extension of the ongoing declared period of war was extended back to Dec. 7, 1941. The congressionally approved act is a way to honor thousands of veterans who were killed or wounded on duty during periods not previously considered a time of war. The eligibility now span from Dec. 7, 1941, until a time when the U.S. is no longer at war, as determined by Congress.
Things you need to know about the Legion Act:
Congress has reduced the number of eligibility periods from seven to two. They are April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918, and Dec. 7, 1941, and continuing. No other restrictions are changed.
The Sons’ eligibility criteria will change along with that of The American Legion. Any son or grandson of a living American Legion member will be able to join the SAL program. (Sons and grandsons of deceased veterans are also eligible.) For example, a son of a veteran who served between 1985 and 1988 previously would not have been eligible. With the extension of the war period, that veteran would immediately be eligible for The American Legion and the son would be able to join the SAL.
Membership in the American Legion Auxiliary is currently open to grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives, husbands, and direct and adopted female descendants of eligible veterans. This follows a similar concept as the Sons.
This change opens up American Legion membership to thousands more veterans who likely live in the community. They may become members immediately. Get the word out to your friends and relatives that may have not been previously eligible for Legion membership. If you are talking to a newly eligible veteran about joining The Legion the prospective member from a previously undocumented war era should write "Other Conflicts" in the eligibility date section until new membership application materials are produced and distributed by The American Legion.