The American Legion Auxiliary, with its 600,000-plus members, has cause to celebrate!
It was indeed an evening of camaraderie and fun shared with like-minded members on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. The local celebration was held at this year’s ‘home-base’ of the Nassau County branch of the American Legion Auxiliary, located at Post 1066 in Massapequa, with Kathleen Murphy serving as 2019-2020 County American Legion Auxiliary President.
Several dignitaries presented Citations and Proclamations to join in the celebration in a spirit of profound appreciation for the Auxiliary’s mission fulfilled on a daily basis. Dignitaries in attendance this evening included Town of Oyster Bay Supv., Joe Saladino; Massapequa Park Mayor, Jeff Pravato; state Sen.-District 8, John Brooks; Councilman-Town of Oyster Bay, Thomas Hand; Nassau County Legislator-District 12, James Kennedy; state assemblyman-District 17, John Mikulin; and Trustee-Village of Massapequa Park, Rich Burgandy.
Included among the awards presented to Nassau County that evening was the American Legion Auxiliary District Color Guard First Place Award received at the 100th American Legion Anniversary Summer Convention Parade in Buffalo this past July.
The American Legion Auxiliary will celebrate its 100th birthday on Nov. 10 just a few months after the American Legion, who celebrated its centennial in March of this year.
The American Legion Auxiliary is responsible for various programs including the Poppy Program, Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Program, Girls State and Girls Nation.
These latter two programs give aspiring young women leaders the opportunity to learn the importance of responsible citizenship. During a ‘Girls State Week’, students are assigned a mock city and spend a week learning about the political process.
Two of the students are chosen to participate in Girls Nation, where they travel to Washington, D.C., and during the program, they run for virtual office, elect a Girls Nation president, meet government officials and visit the White House.
The American Legion, founded after the end of World War I in Paris, France, received its charter in September 1919 from the United States Congress.
Due to the interest of various women’s organizations, the American Legion decided to create an affiliate organization with the women most closely associated with the members of the Legion, and thus the American Legion Auxiliary was founded that November, although its present title came at a later date.
Although time changes many things, the goals of both organizations remain the same: helping veterans, the military and their families. The American Legion Auxiliary members spend millions of volunteer hours each year in a spirit of ‘Service not Self’, advocating for veterans’ rights, including the passage of the GI Bill, enhancing U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, and working diligently to end homelessness and suicide among members.
As we celebrate past achievements, we focus on the future with a new generation of veterans, service members and their families who all depend on the American Legion Auxiliary.
A lot has changed in 100 years. Unlike at the time of its founding, at the present time, female veterans comprise 19 percent of our military.
Accordingly, as of August 2019, membership in the American Legion Auxiliary, which up to this time has been an all-female organization, has been extended to include ALL spouses (female or male) of U.S. veterans and service members who meet the American Legion eligibility requirements, i.e. married to an active or honorably-discharged veteran who is a member of the American Legion.
This amendment makes the American Legion Auxiliary the largest and most inclusive volunteer organization supporting our military, veterans, and their families.
Submitted by Rosanne Spinner, public relations chair for the American Legion Auxiliary’s Nassau County committee