A group of twenty officers who served in the American Expeditionary Forces (A.E.F.) in France in World War I is credited with planning the Legion.A.E.F. Headquarters asked these officers to suggest ideas on how to improve troop morale. One officer, Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., proposed an organization of veterans. In February 1919, this group formed a temporary committee and selected several hundred officers who had the confidence and respect of the whole army.

When the first organization meeting took place in Paris in March 15-17, 1919, about 1,000 officers and enlisted men attended. The meeting, known as the Paris Caucus, adopted a temporary Constitution and the name The American Legion. It also elected an executive committee and named a subcommittee to organize the veterans at home in the US. The Legion held a second organizing caucus in St. Louis, Missouri, in May of 1919. It completed the constitution and made plans for a permanent organization. It set up temporary headquarters in New York City, New York, and began its relief, employment, and Americanism programs.

Congress granted the Legion a national charter in September 1919. The first National Convention, held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, adopted a permanent constitution and elected officers to head the organization.

This is where all of us, as American Legionnaires, began.

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