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New Law Expands American Legion Eligibility

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President Trump signed a bill The LEGIONS Act of 2019 on July 30, expanding American Legion membership eligibility.

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema introduced the legislation, whose acronym stands for Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service . The law, co-sponsored by Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, allows the veterans organization to expand its membership eligibility to include honorably discharged former American servicemen and servicewomen who served between recognized periods of war.

Nick Cabral, commander of Newtown based American Legion Post 202, called the act “a wonderful opportunity for approximately 6 million veterans, who were previously not eligible to access American Legion programs and benefits.

“No longer are ‘cold war era’ veterans excluded, veterans who put on the uniform and served their country just like every other military veteran in American history,” he said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to meet and work with more service veterans from the Newtown area and have their support for our local programs.”

According to legion.org, The LEGIONS Act redefines membership eligibility dates, which now span from December 7, 1941, until a time when the US is no longer at war, as determined by Congress.

Veterans who were honorably discharged but whose service did not fall into the previous defined war eras may now join The American Legion immediately. To do so, eligible members may sign up at legion.org/join.

The American Legion

Chartered by Congress in 1919, the American Legion was founded by World War I veterans who wanted a fraternal organization which also had strong community ties.

The Legion was formed on four pillars; National Security, Veterans Assistance, Children & Youth Programs, and Americanism Programs. The American Legion is responsible for the GI Bill and provides assistance to VA Hospitals and Clinics.

The American Legion also lobbies on behalf of veterans and US Service Members supporting benefits, pensions and Veterans Health Administration programs.

The Newtown Post

The George A Powell Sr American Legion Post 202 of Newtown supports local programs such as a Constitutional Quill essay contest in the schools, Student Athlete of the Year at Newtown High School, the Veterans Day Ceremony at the high school, Local Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, and Community Americanism awards.

“The Post is always seeking new members and now, with the passing of The Legion Act, can take any veteran who served from December 7, 1941 to present day provided that veteran served at least one day of active duty in that time period and was honorably discharged or currently serving. Reservists and National Guardsmen who did not deploy or serve active duty but attended Basic Training or Advanced School on Title 10 orders also qualify.

The Post meets the first Wednesday of every month at Newtown Community Center, 8 Simpson Street, at 7 pm. For more information stop by any meeting, find the post on Facebook (search for American Legion Post 202 Newtown), or email americanlegionnewtown@gmail.com.

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