Connecting the visual image of the poppy with the sacrifice of service made by our veterans has been an important goal of the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program since its inception in 1921. On Memorial Day and Veterans Day, millions of red crepe paper poppies—all handmade by veterans as part of their therapeutic rehabilitation—are distributed across the country in exchange for donations that go directly to assist disabled and hospitalized veterans in our communities.
ALA members do helpful things such as collecting coupons and sending them to overseas commissaries, hosting warm send-off and welcome-home events for our troops, providing servicemembers with pocket flags, and showing the gratitude of our nation by providing military families with Blue Star and Gold Star Banners.
VAVS supports VA and VHA (Veterans Health Administration) strategic goals by recruiting, supporting, and retaining a knowledgeable, diverse, and engaged supplemental workforce of volunteers to assist management in the delivery of VA healthcare.
Service to Veterans volunteers are American Legion Auxiliary members who provide service to veterans outside a VAMC.
Whether organizing a stand down, assembling care packages/tray favors/greeting cards, assisting with a veteran’s burial or gravesite upkeep, sewing, cooking, or shopping for active-duty military/veterans and/or their families, member volunteers are at the heart of the Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Program structure.
The traditional stand down lasts three days, providing shelter and food throughout the event, and may provide services such as haircuts, healthcare screenings, vision and dental care, VA benefits counseling, substance abuse counseling, and legal services for homeless veterans.
Christmas Gift Shops, historically hosted at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and veterans homes, offers veterans in these facilities an opportunity to send gifts to their loved ones at no cost. A cherished tradition since 1928, American Legion Auxiliary volunteers collect donations or purchase items as gifts for veterans. ALA Gift Shops may be placed in a specific location within a VA facility, may take the form of a cart full of gifts, or they may travel from one physical location to another.
For decades, sending care packages has been a popular way American Legion Auxiliary members and volunteers have shown support and love for our nation’s military servicemembers deployed abroad. Getting goodies, necessities, and kind messages from back home can be a comfort to them.
The American Legion Family is dedicated to ensuring that America’s POW/MIAs be honored and recognized, not just memorialized. Legion efforts focus on the need to account as fully as possible for those still missing, alive or dead. An important way all Legion Family members create awareness and remembrance for this initiative is through conducting POW/MIA remembrance services at unit meetings and public events. Strong, united support by all Legion Family members is crucial to bringing all of our heroes home.
Families are encouraged to display the banner in the window of a home when a loved one is serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
The blue star represents one family member serving, and a banner can have up to five stars, according to The American Legion. The American Legion helped reintroduce the Blue Star Banner to Americans following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by providing banners to military families across the nation. If the individual is killed in action or dies, a smaller gold star is placed over it. Gold stars are placed above the blue stars or to the top right of the flag, in the event a flag represents multiple servicemembers.
The Blue Star Service Banner was designed and patented in 1917 by World War I Army Capt. Robert L. Queisser of the 5th Ohio Infantry. His two sons served on the front line. His banner quickly became the unofficial symbol for parents with a child in active military service.
Order a Blue Star Banner from The American Legion National Emblem Sales at (888) 453-4466