Most people have the impression that the American Legion is a place where old Veterans hang out at the bar and tell war stories. That could not be further from the truth. In fact there is no bar at the Post home. The American Legion is a place where veterans and their families come together to continue serving our country and our community.
The members served the United States honorably, all over the world. There are very few left from WWII and the younger veterans don’t show much interest in joining a Veteran’s group so the members are mostly men who fought in Korea and Vietnam. They served their country as young men and they are now serving their community as seniors.
From their Mission Statement: It is the nation’s 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 service members and veterans.
I know you have heard of a program called Boys State and may be aware that the Legion sponsors boys who want to participate. Did you know that the American Legion is Boys State? It was founded by two Illinois Legionnaires, Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card. At Boys State, participants learn the rights, privileges and responsibilities of citizens. They participate in legislative sessions, court proceedings, law-enforcement presentations, assemblies, bands, choruses and recreational programs. They also support a separate but similar program for young women called Girls State.
They sponsor local and national oratorical contests and give scholarships in many fields. Unfortunately, many programs such as American Legion Baseball, Junior ROTC Gun Safety and others had to be discontented because of lack of members,
None of this would be possible without the bingo hall for the public to play every Thursday and Friday. The men and women of the Legion are there not to play but to work. The players are members of the community and the proceeds are donated to various programs and causes that deserve and need support. Over the last year $92,845 has been distributed to various organizations locally and national. The Legion supports local non-profits such as Alexandria Hurricanes baseball team, Boudreaux’s Animal Rescue, CASA, Cenla Shrine Club, Cenla Vets, Doll and Toy Fund, Food Bank of Central LA, Rapides Parish Schools Scholarships, Awards and Support, Senior Citizens Center, Special Olympics, St. Mary’s Residential Training School, Toys for Tots, VA Medical Center Bingo and local and traveling veterans. Their generosity also reaches beyond Rapides Parish. Monthly contributions are sent to Boy and Girls State, Comfort Warriors, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 7 LA, LA Sheriff’s Association, LA Teen Challenge, National Emergency Fund, National Guard Association, Ronald McDonald House, SADD, Shriners Hospital, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the USO.
These men and women are people who have spent their entire lives giving their time, their money and a large piece of themselves to their country and their community with little or no recognition. They don’t ask for praise or a pat on the back. They simply want others to know what The American Legion is about so that the younger generation of veterans may be inspired to join and carry on the mission.
While they are sometimes referred to as “old veterans”, they are still young at heart. They have a presence on Facebook (@americanlegionpost3louisiana), Twitter (@AmericanLegion3 ) and their website ( http://americanlegionpost3louisiana.com ) so that any veteran can find them when needed.
Preamble of The American Legion
For God and Country
We associate ourselves together for the following purposes:
To up hold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America;
To maintain law and order;
To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism;
To preserve the memories and incidence of our association during the great wars;
To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation;
To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses;
To make right the master of might;
To promote peace and good will on earth;
To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of Justice, Freedom and Democracy;
To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness;