As American Legion department conferences and the national Spring NEC Meetings get closer, now is the time to start thinking about how you can make your voice heard.
Any Legionnaire, or group of Legionnaires, can impact the priorities and positions of The American Legion at any level, because the organization’s focus is largely driven by resolutions – position-driven initiatives written by members and put to a vote. They can be passed at a local post meeting on a local matter, or at a National Executive Committee meeting on a topic that could end up shaping overall Legion policy. Although departments can originate their own resolutions, even post-level resolutions can lead to permanent policies and programs; Boys State began as a local initiative in Illinois. The optimal time to write resolutions meant for a national vote is in late winter and spring, ahead of department conventions in late spring and summer.
A dedicated page (www.legion.org/resolutions) on the national website can help Legionnaires craft expert resolutions. The page gives an overview of a resolution’s structure; provides a link to the Legion’s Digital Archive (archive.legion.org), where current resolutions dating back to 1969 are now stored; and houses the Resolutions and Reports booklet (www.legion.org/documents/pdf/resolutionbooklet_rev_1.pdf), which explains what resolutions do and how to write them in much greater detail. One tip: to allay ambiguity, when asking the Legion to "support" an organization, program or other endeavor, spell out as best as possible the limits to the Legion's obligation in this regard - whether to simply commend a good job, or to enter into a relationship.
As the 100th anniversary of The American Legion draws closer, there is no time like the present to start thinking about the Centennial-related resolutions you want to put before your Department Executive Committee.
Visit www.legion.org/library/contacts to contact National Library staff with any questions.