As we begin our new membership year, we continue to celebrate the American Legion Auxiliary’s 100th anniversary. A lot of memories have been made and things have changed these past 100 years, but the heart and purpose of this organization has remained the same. The American Legion Auxiliary will always be a Community of Volunteers Serving Veterans, Military, and their Families.
Celebrating a century of service couldn’t come at a better time. The American Legion Family had two major eligibility changes in the 2019 administration year.
The LEGION Act was signed into law last July, further opening membership eligibility in The American Legion.
The Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service Act declares the United States has been in a state of war since Dec. 7, 1941. This Act fills the gaps in the war era and changes the Legion’s membership eligibility, while also allowing about 6 million veterans to have access to benefits they weren’t eligible for before.
In the Preamble of the Constitution of The American Legion, the phrase “the Great Wars” has changed to “all wars” under Resolution No. 1. When the Legion changes its Preamble, the Auxiliary’s Preamble changes with it.
The second membership eligibility change was announced during The American Legion’s 101st National Convention. Delegates voted to change the Constitution & Bylaws by replacing the word “wife” with “spouse.” This extends Auxiliary membership to all eligible spouses, males and females.
There are 1.9 million women veterans living in the United States, and 9% of the U.S. military is female. In about 20 years, it is estimated that 18% of our military will be female. This new change to the ALA’s Constitution & Bylaws opens ALA membership to thousands of eligible male spouses.
Since changing “wives” to “spouses,” more than 300 male spouses have joined the American Legion Auxiliary.
“We are happy to welcome eligible male spouses of veterans and servicemembers to the American Legion Family,” ALA National President Nicole Clapp said. “This is consistent with our longstanding legacy of embracing military families and supporting them any way we can.”
These new membership eligibility changes unfold opportunities for growth within the American Legion Auxiliary, leading to new resources, more funding opportunities, and an increase in diversity among membership.
The American Legion Auxiliary is more inclusive than ever, making it a perfect time to join. For the last 100 years, Auxiliary members and nonmember volunteers have been dedicated to fulfilling the ALA’s mission by advocating for, helping, and honoring United States military, veterans, and their families, and supporting The American Legion.
To learn more about these eligibility changes and to join, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.