Why Be a Legionnaire?

If you are a veteran living in Illinois, chances are that you have been contacted by someone you live near or work with about joining an organization called The American Legion. If you are like so many others who have been asked to join our organization you have probably asked "why should I join the Illinois Legion?".

1. Your Membership Card:

A passport to friendship and hospitality, as an Illinois member of The American Legion your membership card entitles you to visit any of the 900 American Legion Posts located throughout the state of Illinois.

Your membership card allows you to share in the friendship and hospitality of the over 165,000 members of these posts.  Many of these American Legion Posts offer excellent meals at reasonable prices as well as many activities for you and your family. Your membership card also enables you to visit any of the other 16,000 American Legion posts in the rest of the United States and four other countries.

2. Rehabilitation of the veteran and family are our prime concern:

For over 60 years, The American Legion has led the fight for benefits for the veteran and his/her family. The American Legion was instrumental in sponsoring legislation establishing the Veteran's Administration system of hospitals.

Today, The American Legion spends thousands in volunteer hours and dollars in support of the sick and needy veterans and their families. Here in Illinois alone, in one year, over 3,500 cases pertaining to veterans' benefits were handled by a highly trained rehabilitation staff. O ur mobile VA&R service van travels the state assisting veterans with claims and information on benefits.

3. The American Legion Legislative Programs:

The American Legion Legislative Program is a link to your senators and congressmen. The American Legion maintains a strong and active legislative program within the Illinois Department of The American Legion.

Our Legislative Committee monitors the activity of the members of the Illinois general assembly as well as our duly elected officials on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. The Department Legislative Committee helps sponsor bills and resolutions affecting veterans and their families.

4. The American Legion Baseball Program:

The American Legion Baseball Program is second to none. Every year, over 100 American Legion baseball teams compete in sectional, regional, and state tournaments played within the State of Illinois. These teams comprise of high school players and are under the direction, coaching and sponsorship of American Legion members.

The American Legion Baseball program stresses winning and, more importantly, the importance of good sportsmanship, fair play and teamwork.

5. Premier Boys State:

Each year since 1935 the Illinois Department of The American Legion has conducted a week long learning experience called Premier Boys State. This program delves into the democratic fom of government and offers more than 1,000 young men an opportunity to learn first hand the inner workings of a political party and how to apply this knowledge in actual practice.

Although we can't guarantee that a young man who attends Premier Boys State will grow up to be successful ... we can give you the odds.

6. Special Olympics:

The Illinois Department of the American Legion actively supports the Illinois Special Olympics with both volunteer hours conducting local events and financial sponsorship. The American Legion believes there is no such thing as handicapped people: only special people.

Remember:  No Illinois American Legion Member stands as tall as when he stoops to help the less advantaged.

7. Oratorical:

The Illinois Department of the American Legion has conducted an oratorical contest for high school students for over 55 years.  Each year high school students compete locally, statewide and then nationally for a chance to win a scholarship.

8. Sports:

The American Legion has sports! They annually conduct bowling and golf tournaments at some of the finest facilites in the state. Your membership card in The Illinois American Legion qualifies you for all sports tournaments.

9. Gifts to the Yanks:

Each year since 1944 the Illinois American Legion has supported a program called Gifts to the Yanks to remember every hospitalized war veteran and nursing home bound veteran in Illinois.  Merchandise is requested through the hospital/nursing home director, purchased with donated funds and hand delivered by veterans to veterans in time for Christmas. More than 2,000 Legion and Auxiliary Volunteers wrap and distribute the gifts so no veteran is forgotten.

10. YOU

You, the eligible veteran of this great state who answered the call in time of need and served honorably. are the final reason. The American Legion is not just a veterans' organization, it is the world's largest veterans' oranization with over 3 million members. Remember, it is not the price you paid to join that is important, it is the price you paid to be eligible.  Thank you for your service to our country.

Summary of American Legion Benefits flyer