THE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY – HOW AND WHY IT CAME TO BE
The American Legion held its first National Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 20th through 22nd, 1919 and, by an act of this convention, established the Women’s Auxiliary of The American Legion.
The American Legion was one of the first, and is today, one of the few organizations to be chartered by the Congress of the United States. The National American Legion Organization is not incorporated under the laws of any state. Legally, it has the nearly unique status of a Federal Corporation.
The Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion held its first National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, November 1st and 2nd, 1921. The Department of New York had 12 delegates in attendance. At this Convention, the Auxiliary ratified our National Constitution, changing the name to the American Legion Auxiliary and adopted the Poppy as the American Legion Auxiliary’s memorial flower.
The Department of New York was officially organized in New York City on October 13, 1921. The first elected President was Miss Thais Magrane of New York City. At the time of this Convention, the American Legion Auxiliary accepted the responsibility of helping to establish and maintain the Veterans Mountain Camp at Tupper Lake for tubercular ex-servicemen. In its early years, the Department of New York was very active in Rehabilitation, Americanism, and Legislative work, all of which we are still actively participating in today.
New York can boast of having five National Presidents: Louise C. Williams, New York County (1931-32), Doris Corwith, Nassau County (1939-40), Betty Burdett, Kings County (1953-54), Agnes Kennedy, also of Kings County (1979-80), and Phyllis Bachman, Jefferson County (1996-97).
The first monthly meeting of the Nassau County Committee was held in the Mineola Court House, Mineola. At the third monthly meeting, it was decided that a permanent organization be formed at once. At that meeting, approximately 15 persons were present, including representation from the Units of Freeport, Hempstead, Sea Cliff, Hicksville, Lynbrook and Cedarhurst. Nominations and elections were held, and Mrs. Agnes Earon of Freeport was elected the first Nassau County Chairman. This was later changed to President. Thus, the Nassau County Committee of the American Legion Auxiliary was born.
The purpose of the American Legion Auxiliary, as expressed in the Preamble of our Constitution, is “to participate in and contribute to the accomplishment of the aims and purposes of The American Legion.” The American Legion Auxiliary participates extensively in The American Legion’s work for all veterans, children of veterans, all children, service in the local community, Americanism, and National Security. Wherever women can help in the activities of The American Legion, the American Legion Auxiliary has demonstrated it is always ready and able to step forward and fulfill its slogan – “With The American Legion for America.”
NASSAU COUNTY COMMITTEE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY – TODAY
The American Legion Auxiliary Department of New York consists of ten Districts. The Nassau County Committee of the American Legion Auxiliary is one of three counties within the 10th District. We have 24 Units with 1022 members. We are part of the largest patriotic organization of women in the world. We continue to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve and have served by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, the Nassau County Committee of the American Legion Auxiliary advocates for veterans and promotes patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.
The Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion Auxiliary is a statement of the principles upon which our organization was founded:
PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE AMERICAN LEGION AUXILIARY
For God and Country we associate ourselves together for the following purposes: To uphold 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 incidents of our associations 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 goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity, the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to participate in and contribute to the accomplishment of the aims and purposes of The American Legion; to consecrate and sanctify our association by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.