Chapin, SC (Paul Kirby) – The members of Chapin Post #193 of the American Legion are trying to educate veterans about changes that Congress has made in their membership requirements. The new, broader membership eligibility recognizes that the United States of America has been in some armed conflict for most of last century, even though some conflicts weren’t wars per se.This opens the doors of the American Legion and all its benefits to many more veterans that might not have been eligible before.
According to legion.org, since its founding, membership eligibility in the American Legion has been determined by Congress. They established specific dates of declared hostilities in which U.S. military personnel were activated. Since its founding in 1919, membership in The American Legion had been open to veterans of World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War, Lebanon/Grenada, Panama and Gulf War/War on Terrorism. If you were active duty during any of these periods, you are eligible to join the Legion if are still active duty, retired, or were honorably discharged.
After looking at the issue of membership requirements closely last year, the leaders of the Legion identified at least 12 known combat operations that required an activation of military personnel. Some of these activations included the Cold War, the Libyan Conflict, and Persian Gulf Conflicts. These operations resulted in about 1,600 U.S. military men and women casualties. However, because these operations are unrecognized by the U.S. government as a period of war, those who served during these time frames were not eligible for membership in The American Legion.
Last fall, the Legion’s leadership passed Resolution 1. This resolution recognizes that the United States has been continuously engaged in a state of war from December 7, 1941 to present. It asked that Congress direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to qualify a wartime veteran as any military service personnel who served honorably under Title 10 for at least one day from December 7, 1941 to present.
Resolution No. 2 dealt with unrecognized armed hostilities. It modified the membership dates for much older veterans. After Resolution No. 1 was approved by Congress, the second resolution further modified membership eligibility in The American Legion. Resolution 2 opened to the following war periods: April 6, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918, and Dec. 7, 1941 to the date of cessation of armed hostilities as determined by the U.S. government. To make this a little easier, if you served in any branch of the service in the past 100+ years and have been honorably discharged or retired, you are eligible to be a member of the American Legion.
Why is being a member important? The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veteran’s organization. It focuses on service to veterans, service members and communities. Since its founding, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States. Membership today stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide.
Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America. They’ve fought for and won hundreds of benefits for veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth.
Being around other veterans in the Legion can boost your morale, let you serve the community alongside other veterans, and guide you through the maze of benefits you may be eligible for. You’ll also receive discounts at some businesses and get the Legion’s informative magazine. Membership also ensures that you belong to a group that gives all veterans a voice on Capitol Hill regarding veteran’s issues.
The Chapin Post #193 invites you to stop by and visit with them. They have an informative website where you can join online. It also has the post address, their contact information, and what they’re up to in the community. Post #193 even has their own group of Legion Riders, members who ride motorcycles. They attend or host many rallies throughout the year and are always involved in some charitable event. Their website can be found at www.americanlegionpost193.com