PILLAR II: NATIONAL SECURITY
The American Legion’s positions on national defense, homeland security, border control and military support are all part of the long-held Legion value that the key to peace and world stability is a strong, well-resourced defense.
In order to protect America, troops and their families must have support. The American Legion plays a vital role in supporting the men and women who risk their lives to protect our freedoms.
American Legion posts throughout the nation adopt military units, deliver care packages, provide emotional support for families of deployed servicemembers and welcome the troops home.
Specific examples of their efforts include arranging transportation to reunite soldiers with their families for the holidays and organizing fundraisers to buy phone cards for use in combat zones.
Such assistance doesn’t end when servicemembers return home.
At U.S. military installations across the country – including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Maryland, Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, and Madigan Army Medical Center in Ta-coma, Wash. – Legion staff members help troops work through the medical discharge process and provide representation before medical examination boards to reconcile disability ratings.
“The National Emergency Fund made it possible for us to immediately start to rebuild and to make things happen. Without that initial input, I think we would have been way behind schedule.“Bob Grinis, first vice commander of
Post 11 in Arcadia, Fla., which re-opened on schedule after a hurricane decimated the post
OPERATION COMFORT WARRIORS
This program provides wounded servicemembers with rehabilitation equipment for physical therapy and entertainment in the form of special clothing, electronics, sports equipment, music and more. One hundred per-cent of donations to OCW go toward gifts for injured servicemen and women. www.legion.org/ocw
MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE
The Legion’s support of the U.S. military – from adequate funding for weapons systems to reasonable child-care services for deployed troops – is respected in the Pentagon, at the White House and on Capitol Hill.
SUPPPORT FOR TRICARE
The U.S. military’s health-care system and medical insurance program frequently face challenges in Washington. The American Legion persistently testifies on the need to keep TRICARE and TRICARE For Life viable and affordable benefits of military service.
Dozens of American Legion posts and more than 3,400 Ham Radio Club volunteers set the tone for preparing for natural disasters. In many communities, American Legion posts serve as civil-defense shelters and havens of relief in the event of catastrophe or attack on U.S. soil. Ham radio operators can relay mes-sages when other communication systems are down. www.legion.org/hamradio
BORDER SECURITY AND IMMIGRATION
The American Legion opposes illegal immigration and amnesty for those who came to the United States illegally. The Legion advocates for strict border and port security as a defense against invasion or attack by foreign enemies, illegal drug trafficking and adverse economic impact. The Legion, however, strongly sup-ports legal naturalization.
NATIONAL EMERGENCY FUND
The National Emergency Fund has provided more than $8 million in direct financial assistance to American Legion Family members and posts affected by natu-ral disasters in recent years. The immediate financial grants have helped American Legion members and Sons of The American Legion members rebuild their lives. www.legion.org/emergency
BLUE STAR BANNERS
The American Legion’s Blue Star Banner was resurrect-ed after 9/11 to acknowledge U.S. families with loved ones serving in the Armed Forces during wartime. American Legion Blue Star Salutes and other post-sponsored events to distribute the banners are effective expressions of homefront support for military families. www.legion.org/troops/bluestar
BLOOD DONOR PROGRAM
The American Legion conducts state competitions throughout the country for posts that donate blood or host blood drives. www.legion.org/security/blood
The American Legion maintains a strong working relationship with the State Department to promote peace, human rights and trade on a global scale. The Legion urges the president and Congress to continue pursuing the “smart power” strategy of using military and economic strength in tandem with foreign aid and human-rights negotiations to fulfill U.S. foreign policy.
FULL ACCOUNTING OF POW/MIAs
The American Legion maintains unwavering support for the full accounting of all U.S. military personnel taken as prisoners of war, missing or killed in action on foreign soil. Official meetings of the Legion start with a prayer to honor our nation’s POWs. POW/MIA flags, patches and pins are displayed at Legion events to demonstrate the organization’s eternal vigilance. www.legion.org/powmia