The Mission of the Sons of the American Legion:
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nationâs largest wartime veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow servicemembers and veterans.
The History of the Sons of the American Legion:
The Sons of The American Legion was created in 1932 as an organization within The American Legion. The S.A.L. is made up of men of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the United States military and became eligible for membership in The American Legion. Together, members of The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary and the Sons of The American Legion make up what is known as The American Legion Family.
All three organizations place high importance on preserving our American traditions and values, improving the quality of life for our nation’s children, caring for veterans and their families, and perhaps most importantly, teaching the fundamentals of good citizenship. Sons have always assisted Legionnaires with Legion Family programs. Our Family boasts a combined total membership of nearly 4.2 million members. This year, Sons attained an all time high national membership of over 287,000.
Just as each Legion post determines the extent of its service to the community, state, and nation, each S.A.L. squadron is permitted flexibility in planning programs and activities to meet its own needs. The S.A.L. has study programs recommended for younger members. One such program, called “The Ten Ideals”, teaches the elements of patriotism, health, knowledge, training, honor, faith, helpfulness, courtesy, reverence, and comradeship. If a member completes the Ten Ideals program, he is eligible to continue with another program called the “Five-Point Program of Service”. This program covers patriotism, citizenship, discipline, leadership, and more.
Sons focus on much more than just membership. At all levels, Sons support The American Legion in promoting a wide variety of programs. Sons assist their posts in other activities such as veterans programs, Veterans Administration home and hospital volunteerism, youth projects, and fund raising.
In just the past ten years, Sons have raised more than a million dollars for The American Legion Child Welfare Foundation. In 2004, S.A.L. members volunteered over 211,150 hours in 2004 in Veterans Hospitals throughout the country and raised over $1,454,000 that has gone directly to VA hospitals and VA homes for a variety of items including TVs, radios, medical equipment, and clothing for the patients.
There are many men who are members of, both, The American Legion and the Sons of The American Legion. Often, these individuals started out as young members of the Sons, then when they were old enough to serve the military, they also became eligible to join The Legion. Such individuals are known within our organization as “dual members.”
The Sons of The American Legion is one of many organizations that sponsors and supports the Citizens Flag Alliance, a coalition formed to secure flag protection legislation through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. S.A.L. volunteers work to establish local networks by having petitions available and handing out informational material. They alert their communities to the importance of respect for the flag and they encourage flag education programs in schools and other local organizations.