American Legion Auxiliary celebrates a century of selfless service and making a differenceSince the ALA's inception on Nov. 10, 1919, Auxiliary members and nonmember volunteers have been tirelessly carrying out the ALA's commitment as a patriotic service organization whose mission would be to advocate for, help, and honor United States military, veterans, and their families, and support The American Legion.Read our special centennial issue of Auxiliary magazine to learn more about our history and the far-reaching positive impact our 100-year-old organization has had on those we serve.
A gold cross suspended from a purple ribbon was worn by ALA Past National President Dr. Kate Waller Barrett (1922–1923). The cross and ribbon necklace had been given to Barrett, a medical doctor, by an ill man she treated. The man, an atheist, had the gold cross specially crafted as a gift to her.
Three national American Legion Family leaders, who held office at different times, each have ties to Homer, La. — a small town with a population today of about 2,800. Past National Commander Seaborn Collins of New Mexico (1954– 1955) lived and attended school in Homer during his childhood. ALA Past National President Iler Campbell of Louisiana (1951–1952) lived in Homer, as did Past National Chaplain Lummye Seals (1954–1955).
The American Legion Auxiliary adopted the poppy as its official flower in 1921 and never changed. That same year, The American Legion changed its official flower from the poppy to the daisy. But in 1922, the Legion’s official flower was changed back to the poppy.
Miriam Junge, who served as national secretary from 1978 through 1993, is the only member to hold the title of Honorary Past National President of the American Legion Auxiliary. She was bestowed the position in 2009 for her commitment, dedicated efforts, and dynamic leadership. Junge also is a past ALA department president of Ohio.
ALA Past National President Eliza London Shepard (1925–1926) is a stepsister to famous author Jack London, whose well-known novels include The Call of the Wild.
More than 7,000 young women have participated in ALA Girls Nation since the program was founded in 1947. The first ALA Girls Nation was held in August 1947. Today, the week-long event takes place in July. It has always been held in Washington, D.C.
The Lone Ranger, whose children’s radio program won one of the Auxiliary’s 1953 Golden Mike Awards, led a special and respectful rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance at the Auxiliary’s 33rd National Convention in St. Louis. To the surprise of many convention attendees, the “masked man” popped up from the audience after the introduction of his theme music and strode down the aisle with a Color Guard to do the honors.
Established in 1972, the Cavalcade of Memories museum at ALA National Headquarters in Indianapolis has more than 80 years’ worth of historical items and memorabilia on display in the Cavalcade and in various parts of the headquarters building.
ALA Past National President Rae V. Biester (1933–1934) appeared on an episode of the television game show What’s My Line? (air date: July 20, 1958). She was superintendent of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
In 1939, Kansas and Nebraska were the first two departments to hold ALA Girls State programs.
In 1934, the American Legion Auxiliary Constitution was changed to establish two classes of ALA membership: Seniors and Juniors.
The Auxiliary Emergency Fund (AEF), established in 1969, was made possible by a planned gift from the estate of ALA member Helen Colby Small of Burlington, Wis. A legacy of members helping members, the AEF is still available as a source of temporary emergency financial help for eligible ALA members who have experienced a major financial setback due to an act of nature or certain personal crises. Your donations keep the fund active. For more details about AEF — how to donate or how to apply for an assistance grant, visit www.ALAforVeterans.org.
ALA's second national president, Dr. Kate Waller Barrett (1922-1923), played a key role in having ALA women welcome German war brides to America
1925 Reception by U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and Mrs. Coolidge to the Women’s Patriotic Conference on National Defense as peace insurance at the White House.
American Legion Auxiliary Past National President Adalin Macauley (1926-1927) and other ALA members walk in The American Legion Parade in Paris, France.
Shirley Temple, honorary colonel of the Hollywood Legion post, entertains at a luncheon for ALA National President Clara Douglas and Mr. Jean Hersholt.
ALA opens its annual Joy Shop to provide patients with gifts to send to their families at the Bay Pines Hospital in Florida. Shown are Mrs. J. B. Kirkpatrick (left), and Mrs. Hal R. Whitehead, bringing a cart of gifts to the bedside of Helen E. Carter, who served with the WAC in New Guinea and the Philippines.
Contributions by Legion posts and Auxiliary units in Arkansas made the purchase of this vehicle possible for the use of volunteer hospital workers at the VA hospital in North Little Rock.
U.S. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower receives 50 memorial poppies, one for each state, from 8-year-old Candy Fisher of New York, National Poppy Girl, and 10-year-old Douglas Allen Cross ofWashington, D.C., a Sons of The American Legion member.
ALA National President Opal Glynn Hanes presents a $25,000 check from The American Legion Viet Nam Relief Fund to Gen. William C. Westmoreland, Commander, U.S. Military Assistance Command, at his headquarters in Saigon.
An American Legion Auxiliary Christmas Gift Shop brings some holiday cheer at a VeteransAffairs medical facility in New York.
American Legion Auxiliary 50th Anniversary
U.S. President Ronald Reagan greets ALA National President June Stolte in the East Room at the White House
U.S. President George H.W. Bush is presented with poppy memorabilia from ALA National President Ruby Paul during a visit to the White House. Also in the Oval Office with Paul are ALA National Vice President Margaret Yankovich and ALA National Secretary Miriam Junge.
Since 2000, the Auxiliary has played a key role in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival as a cosponsor of the event, along with Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to raising funds, Auxiliary departments also provide volunteers who assist with everything from punching meal tickets to stuffing programs to ironing costumes for the stage show. Best of all, Auxiliary members have the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with the veterans who participate.
A military veteran works on his craft during the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival held in Jackson, Miss.
The purpose of this media toolkit is to help ALA units promote the centennial at the local
community level. From planning the celebration to publicizing it, this toolkit can help units of any
size. ALA National Headquarters has created templates that can assist you in spreading the
news about your unit’s events. These templates can be customized when accessed online. Download Media Toolkit