American Legion Auxiliary
History: A Legacy of Service, Not Self, is Born
A group of 20 officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I was asked to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., proposed an organization of veterans, which we know today as The American Legion. The original purpose of The Legion was to “preserve the memories and incidence of our association in the great war,” helping those who had served in foreign wars to reintegrate into their hometowns while still remaining connected to those with whom they had served abroad.
The Legion served as a support group, a social club and an extended family of former servicemen. After two planning caucuses held by a committee of officers who had the confidence and respect of their military comrades, they designed a constitution to govern the group and set up headquarters in New York City to begin work on its programs of relief, employment and Americanism.
After the formation of The American Legion, a number of women's organizations wanted to become the official affiliation of The American Legion. The women who had served so faithfully during the trying days of the war wanted to continue to serve. After careful consideration, the committee agreed that a new organization should be made up of the women most closely associated with the men of the Legion and that these women would serve with the Legion, in peace as they had in war.
The committee decided to build a new organization from the ground up, so the Auxiliary could then carry forward the phases of Legion activities more suitably performed by women. In less than one year, 1,342 local units of the Women’s Auxiliary to The American Legion had been organized in more than 45 states.
Who We Are
In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace, and security.
The vision of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion while becoming the premier service organization and foundation of every community providing support for our veterans, our military, and their families by shaping a positive future in an atmosphere of fellowship, patriotism, peace and security.
What We Do
Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary helps to advance the mission of The American Legion. With nearly three-quarters of a million members, it is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization and one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of veterans, military, and their families. ALA members volunteer millions of hours annually, with a value averaging $2 billion each year. From helping to draft the GI Bill in 1944 to advocate for veterans on Capitol Hill, The American Legion Family has been instrumental in advancing legislation that improves the quality of life for our nation’s veterans.
Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women's patriotic service organization. The American Legion Auxiliary’s mission is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad.