The American Legion slams White House VA Budget

Posted on May 26th, 2017

WASHINGTON (May 25, 2017) – National Commander Charles E. Schmidt of The American Legion expressed  extreme disappointment in the Trump administration’s 2018 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The administration’s budget for the VA would effectively lower the earnings of our most vulnerable veterans by reducing or eliminating disability payments from veterans who are the most in need,” Schmidt said. “This is absolutely unacceptable to us.”

The budget would  stop higher disability payments to veterans once they become minimally eligible for Social Security.  Veterans currently enrolled in the Individual Unemployability program, which is available to those  who cannot work and receive the maximum disability compensation from VA, will see their benefits slashed by nearly two-thirds in some instances.

Another disturbing provision caps working age unemployability at age 62. Schmidt pointed out that many members of Congress continue to work past 70. “This plan breaks faith with veterans,” Schmidt added. “Moreover, it’s an assault on TRICARE benefits, which were earned by veterans who spent decades of their lives serving and defending the Constitution of the United States. We are also alarmed by the cannibalization of services needed for the Choice program. It is a ‘stealth’ privatization attempt which The American Legion fully opposes.  Choice should not be advanced to the detriment of cost of living increases for veterans. We hope all veterans, families and supporters of veterans call their elected officials and tell them that they can do better than this misguided plan. Our veterans deserve no less.”

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.

-30-

Media contacts: Joe Plenzler, (202) 861-2700 / (301) 800-9457 (cell) jplenzler@legion.org; John Raughter (Indianapolis), (317) 630-1253 / (317) 441-8847, jraughter@legion.org



Statement on National Poppy Day — May 25, 2017

Posted on May 26th, 2017

Statements for the Record – BY U.S. Rep Andre Carson

Mr. Speaker— I rise to recognize tomorrow, and each Friday before Memorial Day, as National Poppy Day.

National Poppy Day encourages all Americans to wear a red poppy flower as a symbol to remember the fallen and support the living heroes who have worn our nation’s uniform.

Following World War I, the red poppy became an internationally recognized symbol of the blood shed by those who fought for their countries.

Although it originated almost a century ago, the poppy is just as relevant today.

Throughout our history, countless Americans have laid down their lives to protect and defend the country and the people they love.

America’s living veterans have served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and many other conflicts around the world.

They fought for us and many bare scars that will stay with them for life.

As Americans, we have an obligation to remember the service and sacrifice of these brave men and women and their families, who have helped build the country we love today.

By recognizing National Poppy Day, we stand with these brave men and women and with the families of all those who did not make it home.

While we all agree with the sentiment, the symbolism behind the poppy is better known around the world than it is here in the United States. 

It is worn in England and Canada, on Remembrance Day, also known as Armistice Day and Poppy Day, to commemorate members of the armed forces who have died in the line of duty.

This year the United States commemorates the 100th anniversary of its entrance into World War I.

The American Legion, our largest wartime veterans organization which has a track record of promoting National Poppy Day, is approaching its 100th anniversary.

There is no more appropriate time for us, as a nation, to recognize this historic symbol of service.

As the proud author of H.Res. 309, a resolution recognizing National Poppy Day, I urge all of my colleagues to join me in promoting this visible recognition of those who have served our nation in uniform.



The American Legion Brings Poppy Day To The United States

Posted on May 26th, 2017

The American Legion is calling on all Americans to wear a poppy on May 26 as a symbol of remembrance and hope.

 

WASHINGTON, May 17, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Legion is pleased to announce May 26 is National Poppy Day™. Already celebrated in countries around the world, Poppy Day is a time to wear or display a poppy to remember those who lost their lives in battle and in support of veterans, active-duty military and their families.

On May 3, 2017, National Poppy Day received support through the introduction of the House of Representatives Resolution 309 by Congressman André Carson of Indiana. House Resolution 309 has been referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and calls for the Friday before each Memorial Day to be recognized as National Poppy Day.

After World War I, the poppy flourished in Europe. The red flowers were commonly seen around the gravesites of fallen servicemembers. The flower is immortalized in the poem “In Flanders Fields,” penned by Lt. Col. John McCrae.

“As the United States commemorates the 100th anniversary of its entrance into World War I, it is only fitting that The America Legion brings Poppy Day to the U.S.,” said Charles E. Schmidt, national commander of The American Legion. “Just as The American Legion was the first organization to adopt the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for the fallen, we are pleased to be the first to formally recognize its historic significance with National Poppy Day.”

In the days leading to National Poppy Day and through Memorial Day, members of The American Legion, American Legion Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion will be in communities across the country distributing poppies and collecting donations. All donations received as part of National Poppy Day will support veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families with medical and financial needs.

This year, National Poppy Day support was kicked off by The Boeing Company with a $100,000 donation to The American Legion. To learn how you can get involved, go to Legion.org/PoppyDay.

About The American Legion
The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with 2.1 million members in nearly 14,000 posts in communities across America. Chartered by Congress in 1919, The American Legion is committed to mentoring youth and sponsoring wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.

Media Contact:
RJ Smith
smithrj@1stdegree.com 
703-853-8198



The American Legion GI Bill forum, exhibit set for The National WWII Museum

Posted on May 17th, 2017

June 20 event to open centennial salute to “the greatest legislation”

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2017) – The original cover and signature page of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, along with the typed and hand-edited speech given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt after signing it, will be showcased at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans beginning June 20 as part of an American Legion centennial salute to the GI Bill.

The bill, drafted and pushed to passage by The American Legion in 1943 and 1944, transformed the United States, building the middle class and democratizing higher education. The exhibit, titled “The Greatest Legislation,” features illustrated panels and touchscreen videos that tell the dramatic story of how The American Legion drafted the measure and overcame numerous challenges to get it to the president’s desk June 22, 1944. It also traces the effects of the bill during the 20th century and its evolution to best serve veterans of the post 9/11 era.

A free reception at the museum is planned at 5 p.m. June 20, followed by a moderated panel discussion led by American Legion 100th Anniversary Honorary Committee Chairman Ted Roosevelt IV. Scheduled panelists include former U.S. Sen. James Webb, who wrote, introduced and championed the Post 9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008; VA Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity Curtis Coy; Student Veterans of America CEO and President Jared Lyon; and American Legion Assistant Director of Veterans Employment and Education John Kamin.

The panel discussion will include remarks from National WWII Museum President Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller and American Legion Executive Director Verna Jones. The event will include a question-and-answer session were audience members will be invited to share the ways in which the GI Bill has influenced their lives and to discuss the future of the benefit for today’s veterans.

In addition to the cover and signature pages of the original act, on loan from the National Archives, and the speech, on loan from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, is a pen used by President Roosevelt to sign the bill into law, on loan from The American Legion National Headquarters.

Visitors planning to attend the June 20 event are asked to call ahead at 1-877-813-3329 extension 412.

The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that future generations will know the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion, www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 13,000 posts across the nation.

-30-

Contact: Joe Plenzler, (202) 263-5758/ 301-800-9457 cell, jplenzler@legion.org



Support American Legion Charities Inc. through your purchases on smile.amazon.com

Posted on December 2nd, 2016

It is now possible to support American Legion programs through donations made while shopping on Amazon. American Legion Charities Inc. is now one of the charities available to donate to through AmazonSmile (https://smile.amazon.com/).

AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way to support charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at www.smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

Simply go to smile.amazon.com, sign into your normal Amazon account and then type in “American Legion Charities Inc” in the search box when the prompt comes up. Amazon will remember your selection, and then every eligible purchase you make at smile.amazon.com will result in a donation.

The AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases. The purchase price is the amount paid for the item minus any rebates and excluding shipping & handling, gift-wrapping fees, taxes or service charges. From time to time, Amazon may offer special, limited time promotions that increase the donation amount on one or more products or services, or provide for additional donations to charitable organizations.

Only purchases at smile.amazon.com – not at www.amazon.com or through the mobile app – support any charities.



Legion leads memorial inventory effort

Posted on November 18th, 2016

National commander calls on members to document, photograph and upload into database all local military, veteran and war monuments and memorials.

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt is calling on all posts, districts, counties, areas, zones, departments and affiliates of the organization to help build an unparalleled database of memorials and monuments that honor U.S. military service and sacrifice. The database and uploading instructions can be found at www.legion.org/memorials on the Legion’s national website.

“As The American Legion nears its centennial year, one aspect of our organization’s rich legacy is universal – ‘to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars,’” Schmidt said, quoting from the Preamble to The American Legion Constitution. “We know that in virtually every corner of the country, and beyond our shores, American Legion Family members have paid tribute to military service, honor and remembrance by carving out sacred spaces in their communities to ensure that the price paid for freedom is not lost on future generations.”

Schmidt said the Legion’s memorials database project is a great opportunity to involve the entire American Legion Family, youth groups such as Boy Scouts, local civic organizations, schools and others. “It is especially important to assess the conditions of these memorials – whether it’s a plaque in the park listing a county’s war dead or a well-known community statue or plaza. What better way to commemorate the Legion’s centennial than to spruce up, repair and revive awareness to those who served before us, whose memorials and monuments may be showing the effects of age and weather? It’s also the perfect time for communities to reacquaint themselves with the meaning of their memorials.”

The American Legion Memorial Inventory Project is not focused on any one war era. “We know that American Legion posts care for memorials ranging from the Revolution to the Global War on Terrorism, all around the world,” Schmidt said. “We also are well aware that some of them have come under attack because they may contain some religious symbolism or language, and The American Legion steadfastly opposes removal or revision of such monuments. In order to ensure their continued respect and protection, we have a responsibility to index them and bring attention to their original and intended meaning.”

The web platform – easily accessed and used from a smartphone or electronic tablet – asks for the location of the memorial, a description of it, date of installation if known and a rating of its condition. Uploaders are also strongly encouraged to take photos of the memorial and post them onto the database. Once a submission has been made, it may take a couple of days before it appears, following review.

The American Legion is also working with the United States World War One Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library to document monuments and memorials dedicated specifically to World War I, thousands of which were erected by the early American Legion. The 100 Cities/100 Memorials program includes a matching-money grant opportunity for applicants. More can be learned about that project at www.worldwar1centennial.org/100-cities-100-memorials-home online.

The American Legion National Executive Committee passed Resolution 10 during the Oct. 12-13 meetings in Indianapolis to encourage all American Legion posts, American Legion Riders chapters, American Legion Auxiliary units and affiliated groups to participate in the Veterans Memorial Identification Project and build the national database.

“This is who we are in The American Legion,” said American Legion 100th Anniversary Observance Committee Chairman Robert W. Spanogle, a past national commander and past national adjutant of the organization. “This memorial identification project will be a major benefit for researchers, students, educators, the media and travelers who need to understand the story of our nation as told through the military experience and immortalized in every community. We have a sacred obligation to keep these memories alive, recorded and in the best possible condition.”



LegionCare program now improved!

Posted on September 14th, 2015

The Legionnaire Insurance Trust (LIT) is pleased to announce some important changes to the LegionCare program just revealed at the 97th Annual American Legion National Convention earlier this month.

The first of these exciting updates – starting for enrollments after 1/1/2015, anyone enrolled in LegionCare will be covered for as long as they remain a member of The Legion Family. No need to re-enroll every 5 years!

The second change, and what we think is the most important – All “Legion Family” members – Legion, senior ALA, and senior SAL – in good standing are now eligible for the coverage.  The Legionnaire Insurance Trust has been working hard to provide valuable benefits to your entire family and we look forward to continuing to serve  veterans’ insurance needs.

Those “Legion Family” members stopping by our booth were able to enroll in the LIT’s LegionCare program and have their coverage become effective immediately, but this opportunity is not restricted to just those who were at the National Convention. Every eligible “Legion Family” member may enroll, but the member must sign-up to be covered.  Please keep the momentum going after the convention and spread the word about these exciting changes to LegionCare.

Reminder about LegionCare:

What is LegionCare? LegionCare provides up to $1,000 of 24 hours accidental death coverage to an enrolled member.  And if an enrolled members suffers a covered loss while performing “official Legion Family business”, there is an additional $4,000 benefit* –bringing the total to up to $5,000.

How do I enroll? Just go online to www.TheLIT.com/No-Cost-LegionCare and fill in the requested information.  By enrolling on-line, your coverage will begin immediately and you will get an e-mail confirmation within minutes.  Those without access to the internet may enroll by calling the LIT’s toll-free number – (800) 235-6943 – and our customer service area will process your enrollment over the phone.

Don’t delay – sign-up today!



National PUFL Application Processing Change

Posted on March 4th, 2015

MEMO: To All Posts Adjutants

MEMO FROM: Jack Querfeld, Director, Internal Affairs Division

SUBJECT: Paid-Up-For-Life Application Processing Change

In January 2014, National Headquarters introduced a new simplified pricing structure for its Paid-Up-For-Life (PUFL) plan which also included the ability for a member to apply online for lifetime membership.  This was done with the intent of simplifying the entire process for the member.

Beginning July 1, 2015, National Headquarters will no longer accept PUFL applications that were previously distributed in bulk to Departments or Posts. This includes any PUFL application reflecting a rate chart with the effective date of October 2009 or earlier.

All PUFL applications must be submitted to National by one of the three methods noted below. We will continue the policy of notifying the Post and Department when a member applies for a lifetime membership; this provides the opportunity for the Post to challenge the application, if necessary.

ONLINE APPLICATION: The member accesses the PUFL page on National’s website at www.legion.org/pufl to obtain a rate quote and/or submit an electronic application. Once the rate quote is received, the member can opt to apply online which will cause their record information to appear for confirmation purposes. Once confirmed and the payment information is completed, the member selects the Submit button to complete the application process.  NOTE:  If the member doesn’t have internet access, either themselves or through family/friends, this process should be performed by the Post or the Department. A quick link to the PUFL application website has been added to myLegion for Posts and Departments.

PRINTABLE APPLICATION:  The member accesses the PUFL page on National’s website at www.legion.org/pufl to obtain a rate quote and/or print an application. Once the rate quote is received, the member can opt to print a paper application to complete and mail to National Headquarters.  The application will be pre-filled with the member’s ID Number, Name, Address, Birth Date and the total cost of the PUFL membership. (If any of the member’s information needs to be updated, it can be noted on the application.) The member then simply mails the application and payment to National Headquarters at the address shown on the form.  NOTE:  If the member doesn’t have internet access, either themselves or through family/friends, the application should be printed by the Post or the Department and forwarded to the member for completion. A quick link to the PUFL application website has been added to myLegion for Posts and Departments.

CALL A CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST:  Any member can speak to one of National’s Customer Service Specialists by calling our toll free number at 800-433-3318.  They’re happy to answer any questions…print and mail a PUFL application…or even take the application over the phone.  However, this should not be considered the primary procedure since all members, Posts, and Departments have the same ability.

 



error: Content is protected !!