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On July 30, 2019, President Donald Trump signed the bipartisan Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service (LEGION) Act which redefines The American Legion’s membership eligibility dates as follows: April 6, 1917, to Nov. 11, 1918, and beginning with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and continuing until the U.S. Government determines the United States is no longer in a state of war. Should that occur, eligibility will close.

What this means is that nearly 1,600 brave American men and women who were killed or wounded while serving the United States at times when periods of war not officially recognized by the U.S. government (i.e., the “Cold War”) are eligible to receive benefits and recognition otherwise provided to service members who served during official wartime.

Another benefit of the LEGION Act is that hundreds of thousands of veterans now have access to American Legion programs and benefits for which they previously had not been eligible.

“The passage of the LEGION Act is a victory for veterans who until now have not had their service to our nation fully recognized,” said American Legion Past National Commander Brett Reistad. “These veterans and their family members can now enjoy all the benefits of their service which they so richly deserve.”

“As we celebrate our centennial anniversary, we hold to the same truths that our founders appropriately crafted a century ago,” Reistad said. “Among those: a veteran is a veteran. It does not matter whether a veteran fought enemies on foreign soil, protected our interests in an ocean far away or secured our national defense here at home. Their service is what matters most. Now, thanks to this legislation, all veterans will be properly remembered for their service.”

For more information about the LEGION Act or potential benefits available to veterans, contact Richard R. Barden, Commander/Membership Chair, American Legion Post 333, Post Office Box 21, Sun Prairie WI 53590.

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