Officer’s Guide - LEGION WISCONSIN

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The American Legion2019Officer’s GuideAND MANUAL OF CEREMONIESLEGION ACT NOTICEDue to the July 30, 2019, signing of the Let Everyone GetInvolved with Opportunities for National Service – The LEGIONACT – eligibility for membership in The American Legion hasbeen changed from the former seven war eras to two:1. April 6, 1917 – Nov. 11, 19182. Dec. 7, 1941 – currentAll other restrictions and limitations remainThis document is in the process of being updated to reflect thischange. When the updates are approved an electronic PDF willbe posted at www.legion.org/legionactmaterials

The following chart explains the relationship a local post has with other posts, the district or county, thedepartment and National Headquarters. For the sake of brevity, post subcommittees are not included. A listof “standard” post committees and other non- traditional committees (depending on your post’s programsand activities) begins on page 18.The American LegionLevels of CommunicationNATIONAL HEADQUARTERSDEPARTMENT HEADQUARTERS55 departmentsDISTRICT AND/OR COUNTYApproximately 800 districtsPOST COMMANDERApproximately 13,000 postsPOST ADJUTANTOTHER ELECTED OFFICERSPOST EXECUTIVE mericanismChildren and YouthEconomicFinanceHouseLegislativeMembership & Post ActivitiesMedia & CommunicationsVeterans Affairs & RehabilitationSecurityGraves RegistrationSons of The American LegionLegion RidersLEGENDcoordination & informationdirective

The American LegionOfficer’s GuideAND MANUAL OF CEREMONIESPublished byThe American Legion National HeadquartersInternal Affairs DivisionP.O. Box 1055Indianapolis, IN 46206legion.org56th EditionRevised March 2019Disclaimer of liabilityThe American Legion Officer’s Guide and Manual of Ceremonies (“guide”) provides the reader with very general informationabout planning and conducting various programs. This guide is only intended to help assist volunteers and staff. With respectto information contained in this guide, neither The American Legion nor any of its officers, directors or employees make anywarranty, express or implied, nor assume any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness ofany information, apparatus, product or process implemented at the post or department level. This guide only constitutesgeneral advice and recommendations for operations based on best practices. Information within the guide stating “shall ormust” is based on federal law or federal/IRS regulations and mandates. All other items of information in this guide are generalsuggestions except for the National Constitution and By-Laws. This guide does not constitute any type of legal advice. Ifreaders have any concerns about anything in this guide, they are strongly advised to contact their respective department andan attorney licensed in their state.Please see 36 U.S.C. Section 21704: The Corporation (The American Legion) may provide guidance and leadership toorganizations (departments) and local chapters (posts) . but may not control or otherwise influence the specific activities andconduct of such organizations (departments) and local chapters (posts). (emphasis added)THE AMERICAN LEGION OFFICER’S GUIDE 2019i

iiTHE AMERICAN LEGION OFFICER’S GUIDE 2019

FOREWORDThe Officer’s Guide is the principal handbook issued by National Headquarters to help American Legionofficers fulfill their roles. It combines a guide to post offices, operations and procedures; the Manual ofCeremonies, which describes ceremonies prescribed by the National Trophies, Awards and CeremonialsSubcommittee; and an appendix including The American Legion Constitution, eligibility requirements,parliamentary procedures, a suggested post constitution and by-laws, and more.Publications on all major American Legion programs are available from your department headquarters andNational Headquarters. See the complete list at legion.org/publications. Many can be downloaded forfree; others are available at low cost at emblem.legion.org.If you have questions on American Legion policies or procedures, contact your district officers ordepartment headquarters.We hope this handbook will help you in your mission, and we encourage post officers to become familiarwith its contents.The responsibility given to the individual post is the source of our strength and ability to grow. The post isto a large degree autonomous, restricted only by the broad general guidelines contained in the national ordepartment constitution and by-laws.The question has been asked, “Who determines who is a member of a particular post?” In 1923, an AmericanLegion Weekly article stated, “At the same time that Article IV, Section 1 of the National Constitution ByLaws were adopted, we established another principle having an important bearing on it. Another sectionspecifies that each post shall be the judge of its own membership, subject to the restrictions of the Legion’sConstitution and By-Laws. This means that a post shall also determine whom it will accept for membership. The right of each post to determine its own membership is without restriction.”Regarding Article IV, Section 1, a 1937 ruling by National Judge Advocate Ralph B. Gregg stated, “In otherwords, a member may be eligible for to join The American Legion, but this does not mean that he (or she)must be accepted for membership in a particular post. Eligibility is not synonymous with acceptability. If amember is eligible to join The American Legion, it is still the prerogative of the post to determine whetherthey will accept such a member in their post.”In summary, the post sits as judge of its members in disciplinary proceedings, and has the prerogative toaccept, or not, whomever is eligible, provided that the post does not refuse membership to an eligiblemember based upon a demographic characteristic protected by law (race, gender, ethnicity, age, sexualorientation, etc.).Your post’s challenge is to focus on service to veterans, their families and the community where you reside.To meet this challenge, your post must develop goals and objectives. The Preamble to the Constitution ofThe American Legion is an ideal, a set of missions and battles that can never be decisively won or lost – onlyfought for. It serves as a vision for your post leadership to craft a mission statement from which you canestablish short- and long-term goals. In the appendix, you will find a list of five resolutions pertaining to TheAmerican Legion’s blueprint for meeting challenges it faces in the 21st century. They can provide guidanceand direction as you establish your post’s programs and overall vision.By accepting the elected office you have, you made the decision to serve. Serve well, for our veterans arecounting on you, not just our members.THE AMERICAN LEGION OFFICER’S GUIDE 2019iii

TABLE OF CONTENTSThe Four Pillars of The American Legion . 2The American Legion Emblem . 3Usage of The American Legion Cap, Emblem, Facilities and Political Donations . 4Section 1 – Post OperationsThe Post . 6Post Officers . 8Post Committees . 18Uniformed Groups . 20Analysis of Post Operation . 21Post Responsibility Audit (PRA) . 22Steps to a Better Post . 25Post Charters . 27New Posts . 28Project Stay Active . 30Direct Renewal Notices . 31Paid-Up-For-Life (PUFL) Membership . 31Consolidated Post Reports (CPR) . 31myLegion.org . 32Child Welfare Foundation (CWF) . 33Temporary Financial Assistance (TFA) . 34National Emergency Fund (NEF) . 34Sons of The American Legion (SAL) . 35American Legion Auxiliary . 35Section 2 – Manual of CeremoniesPlan of Post Meeting Room . 38Plan of Post Meeting Room for Special Ceremonies . 39Wearing the American Legion Cap . 40Badges . 41Color Guard Procedure . 42Regular Meeting . 43POW/MIA Empty Chair Ceremony. 44POW/MIA Remembrance Service . 45Initiation . 47Installation of Officers . 52Dedications . 58ivTHE AMERICAN LEGION OFFICER’S GUIDE 2019

Military Funeral Honors for Veterans . 59Post Everlasting . 62Folding the Flag . 69Draping the American Legion Charter Ceremony . 70Gold Star Banner Ceremony . 71Patriotic Holidays . 72Flag Ceremonies . 78Prayers for Special Occasions . 82AppendixMeaning of the Preamble to The American Legion Constitution . 83The American Legion Charter . 85Constitution of The American Legion . 86By-Laws of The American Legion . 92The American Legion’s Blueprint for the 21st Century . 96Suggested Form for Post Constitution . 98Suggested Form for Post By-Laws . 101Delinquency, Resignation and Transfer . 104Eligibility . 105Parliamentary Procedure . 114Uniform Code of Procedure for the Revocation, Cancellation or Suspension of Post Charters . 121Practices and Procedure in Expulsion or Suspension of a Member . 125Emblem Sales . 128Use of The American Legion Emblem . 129Military Equipment and Blank Ammunition . 131The American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program . 135How to Write a Resolution . 136Veteran of the Month . 139Post Narrative Histories . 139Post Yearbooks . 146The American Legion 100th Anniversary Celebration History . 149U.S. Flag Code .

The American Legion 2019. Officer’s Guide. AND MANUAL OF CEREMONIES. Due to the July 30, 2019, signing of the . Let Everyone Get Involved with Opportunities for National Service – The LEGION ACT – eligibility for membership in The American Legion has been changed from the former s

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