The American Legion was founded in March 1919 in Paris, France, by U.S. World War I military personnel stationed there who were dedicated to four pillars of service and advocacy: veterans, military personnel, youth and patriotic values.
■ The American Legion today consists of 55 “departments” in each of the 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, France, Mexico, the Philippines and Puerto Rico. There are approximately 13,000 local posts worldwide.
■ Current national membership is about 2 million. Combined with the American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of The American Legion, membership in what is known as the American Legion Family exceeds 3 million.
■ American Legion membership is open to military personnel and veterans who have served their nation on active duty during wartime. Eligibility has been open to all who have served on active duty since Aug. 2, 1990, the beginning of continuous U.S. armed conflict in the Middle East and other locations around the planet.
■ The Legion has been instrumental in the creation of a number of major institutions of American society, including formation of the Department of Veterans Affairs, creation of U.S. Flag Code, passage of the GI Bill and more.
■ American Legion posts annually:
» Donate more than 3.7 million hours of volunteer service in their communities
» Provide assistance on more than 181,000 VA benefits claims and cases
» Donate more than 80,000 pints of blood to collection centers nationwide, which makes the Legion the nation’s single largest blood donor
» Awards more than 8,000 medals to Junior ROTC students
» Sponsors more than 2,500 Scouting units serving more than 64,000 young people
» Awards more than $4 million in college scholarships
■ The American Legion is currently marking its 100th anniversary with a 15-month celebration which started at its national convention in August 2018 and will run through Veterans Day 2019.
■ The American Legion 100th Anniversary mantra is “Legacy and Vision” – both a celebration of past accomplishments and a renewal of the organization’s resolve to serve communities, states and the nation for a second century.
History of a few local posts:
Middle Village Post 187 was founded in 1919. It originally met at the Montauk Democratic Clubhouse located on Metropolitan Avenue near 80th Street. In the 1940s, it fundraised to build a headquarters at 75th Street and Metropolitan Ave. Today, there is another Middle Village Post numbered 784 which meets in a small building on 79th Street across the street from Middle Village Playground. The Joseph B. Garity Post 562 was also founded in 1919 in honor of a Maspeth Marine who died in the war. One of its first initiatives was to have Garity’s body removed from its burial location in France and reinterred at St. John Cemetery in 1921. The Post broke ground on its new headquarters on Fairview Avenue in 1940. A few years ago, it relocated to Myrtle Avenue in Glendale and the old building now houses the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council. American Legion Post 783 in Maspeth was chartered in 1922 at 66-28 Grand Avenue and remained in its original location throughout the years but disbanded recently. Below is a list of current posts in the area.
Glendale, Inc., NY Post 104
80-09 Myrtle Ave
Glendale, NY 11385
Middle Village, NY Post 784
68-39 79th Street
Middle Village, NY 11379
Joseph B. Garity, NY Post 562
87-11 Myrtle Ave
Glendale, NY 11385