Sons of the American Legion

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Sons of The American Legion members include males of all ages whose parents or grandparents served in the U.S. military and were eligible for American Legion membership.


History

Sept. 12-15, 1932: The Sons of The American Legion is established as a non-political, non-sectarian civilian organization by the 14th National Convention of The American Legion in Portland, Ore. 1939: Membership in SAL is about 7 percent of the parent organization. The Sons group seems destined to grow. However, many members joined the armed services during World War II but never returned. For those who did return, their service had made them eligible to join the ranks of The American Legion itself. 1953: Membership in the Sons drops to 5,631 from a high of 72,633 in 1939. A major factor for the decline is due to the former Sons, now veterans of World War II, having no children in the immediate postwar years.

April 30-May 1, 1964: The National Executive Committee passes Resolution 22, urging the SAL program “be encouraged and implemented by internal promotion and increased public recognition through the National Headquarters staff and the various Departments of The American Legion.” 1964: The Sons conduct their first National SAL Workshop during the Legion’s National Convention in Dallas. May 8-9, 1969: The Legion’s NEC gives its approval to Resolution 60, which creates a Sons of The American Legion Committee, consisting of four members and a chairman. Two of the members were from the ranks of the SAL, while the chairman and the other two members were Legionnaires.

May 3-4, 1972: The Legion’s NEC approves Resolution 13, creating a National SAL organization under the full supervision and control of the Legion’s NEC, thus opening the door for the Sons of The American Legion to hold its first National Convention in Chicago in August 1972. Resolution 13 also rescinded in its entirety the old SAL Constitution and Bylaws, as adopted in 1933.

May 2, 1973: The Legion’s NEC approves Resolution 21, which establishes a procedure for handling matters originating from SAL National Conventions and SAL National Executive Committee meetings. All actions of the Sons of The American Legion National Convention and/or NEC are reviewed by the Legion’s Internal Affairs Commission. The Internal Affairs Commission then affixes to its report to the Legion’s NEC an addendum in digest form listing all such actions with a statement setting forth the Internal Affairs Commission’s disposition of each action. Unless specific contrary action is taken by the Legion’s NEC with respect to the addendum items, the disposition recommended by The American Legion’s Internal Affairs Commission becomes the disposition of the NEC.

Oct. 17-18, 1973: The Legion approves Resolution 15, abolishing the National SAL Committee created by Resolution 60 in 1969. Responsibilities of the National SAL Committee are assigned to the Legion’s Internal Affairs Commission. Sons of The American Legion 3 INTRODUCTION The Sons of The American Legion is a legally constituted organization, instituted and recognized by official action of The American Legion’s National Executive Committee. Each squadron exists through sponsorship of the individual post of The American Legion and is subject to such rules, regulations and supervision as shall be created by the sponsoring post not in conflict with rules and regulations set up by the National Executive Committee. Recognition of district and detachment organizations of Sons has been approved by the NEC. Sons of The American Legion squadrons can be a source of pride for their members and the sponsoring American Legion post. Squadrons should serve as volunteers to assist older veterans, and participate in patriotic holiday observances and other civic functions, not only to help expand the post’s representation but to also develop an awareness of the squadron’s purpose “to foster and perpetuate a true spirit of Americanism.” Examples of how squadrons fulfill these missions: Volunteers: SAL members find it rewarding to serve as a volunteer at a hospital or medical center in the Veterans Administration Voluntary Service (VAVS) program. Leadership: As the SAL member becomes older, his experience and talent should be utilized in leadership and instructional capacities within the squadron. Older SAL members who have had Boys State experience can provide a junior counselor service to The American Legion in this annual program. Marksmanship: The American Legion Junior Shooting Sports program combines basic marksmanship, qualification awards and air rifle competition to participants through age 18. USA Shooting (the national governing body for Olympic shooting) and the National Rifle Association recognize this program as one of the premier youth marksmanship events in the country. The sponsoring post must demonstrate that care be exercised in the selection of adult leadership for the squadron. Legionnaires selected for the post’s SAL Supervisory Committee must have knowledge and understanding of this program, and the initiative and determination to see that it is carried through. SAL activities must be stressed that will develop engaged Americans with the strength and courage to face the responsibilities and challenges of adult life in a complex world. However, the program must not become overzealous. The establishment of a SAL squadron should not be accomplished with the intent of competing with or luring members from youth organizations already active in the community. Membership and active participation in the SAL should complement other existing programs and should serve as an enhancement of the SAL member in both his scholastic and extracurricular endeavors. Care must be taken to permit members to develop and use their own initiative and ideas in working out details of activities. Legionnaires on the supervisory committee should serve primarily as counselors for the squadron’s leadership.