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The Story of The American Legion Part 24

At that same meeting, Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., refused to accept official leadership of the organization because he desired to allow no ground for any charge that he wished to utilize it to further his political career.

Such action by the Legion and by one of its most prominent members warrant its organizers in working to enroll all the men who served during the great war.

If this path is followed the American Legion will be a force for good in the country's affairs as well as a bond of fellowship among those who were members of the largest army ever raised by this republic.

_Manchester_ (N. H). _Union_, May 27, 1919.--... In spite of all that has been written and said it appears there still remains some mistaken idea and prejudices concerning this organization. The purposes of the American Legion are:

1. To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

2. To maintain law and order.

3. To foster and perpetuate a one hundred per cent. Americanism.

4. To preserve the memories and incidents of our association in the Great War.

5. To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation.

6. To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses.

7. To make right the master of might.

8. To promote peace and good will on earth.

9. To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy.

10. To consecrate and sanctify comradeship by devotion to mutual helpfulness.

This is the program and platform of the wonderful organization whose potential membership is the four million and more men who wore their country's uniform in the war.

It is big enough and broad enough to admit every man and woman who joined the colors. If, as has been intimated, there are some few ex-service men who think they see in this tremendous movement something personal and partisan, they should take the blinders off, forget their unworthy fears, and come out into the open with their comrades, determined, as every man is who has already joined, that the American Legion will never be made the vehicle of personal ambition nor the creature of partisan purpose; but will be conserved to foster and promote only those high purposes which are so nobly defined in the language which is quoted above, taken bodily from the constitution of the Legion.

PITTSBURGH, _Gazette-Times,_ May 29, 1919.--... In contrast with the Grand Army, the American Legion will embrace all sections of our land. Similarly it will be the private soldier's organization. Military honors will not count. Absolute Americanism is to be its dominating principle. With the dwindling ranks of the Grand Army there is need of such an organization. The Grand Army has long been a staunch bulwark of patriotism but time is doing its work. Others must soon take up where the veterans of the Civil War left off. Those of the new organization who saw service overseas possess a new vision of what America means. Because of their good fortune in going abroad they reaped an advantage over those who were denied the privilege, though entitled to no more credit. All who donned the uniform served. With an organization of such possibilities in numbers and all imbued with a patriotic fervor the safety of the Republic against the machinations of those who would tear down is assured.

_Burlington_ (Vt.) _News_, May 29, 1919.--So far as actual results are concerned America gains little from the peace treaty. If, however, the American Legion measures up to the standard we believe it capable of, America will be the greatest gainer of all in the war.

_Bridgeport_ (Conn.) _Standard_, May 28, 1919.--The statement that the American Legion is to let politics alone is good news to the people of this country who are looking toward this fine organization of American fighters to bring to our national life some of the spirit which chased the Fritzies back to the Rhine.

The civilian public has a right to ask what are the aims of this new, and sure to be powerful, organization. Four million men are of its potential membership. These four million are to be found scattered in every city, village and hamlet in the country. They are to meet on terms of equality, officers and men. They know how to work together, how to undergo discipline for a worthy objective, and how to go over the top in action. It is good, then, to know that this new four million is not to be a political machine. We want no more of the mawkish of either fearing or catering to the "soldier-vote."

Only as a nonpartisan organization can the American Legion do its best work. Its able leaders know this. In a day when men are fast deserting unworthy party emblems to stand for what they think right, the soldier organization will have a wide influence.

We hail the Legion.

It had to come and it is coming strong and sure.

Good men are at the head of the column, and better men than those in the ranks exist nowhere in the country.

They are the pick of the best, physically best, in nerve and in courage, best in point of training, in discipline and best among all the nations who won the great victory.

There is still a fight in America. Democracy is never safe, only being made safe. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Eternal vigilance without regard to fear or favor is to be the spirit of the American Legion.

Chapter end

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