The American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans’ service group, a military of two million women and men as we speak who strengthen communities from coast to coast. 

“The nation offers a lot to us as veterans, it’s vital that we proceed to volunteer to assist the nation after we come dwelling,” Jake Comer, previous nationwide commander of the American Legion, instructed Fox Information Digital.

The American Legion’s origin story and the person on the heart of it are each bit as outstanding because the group itself. 

The American Legion was established in Paris in 1919, within the rapid aftermath of World Conflict I, by a conference of service-minded U.S. army officers.  


Theodore Roosevelt Jr., a U.S. Military officer, led the caucus of fight veterans. 

He and his brother Quentin volunteered to guide American doughboys into battle in France — regardless of the privileges afforded them by wealth and by standing, sons of the previous fresident of america, Theodore Roosevelt.  

Medal of Honor recipient Teddy Roosevelt Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. was the son of President Theodore Roosevelt. He served in fight in World Conflict I, based the American Legion after the battle and have become profitable in enterprise. He returned to fight in World Conflict II, main American troops onto Utah Seaside on D-Day and receiving the Medal of Honor for his heroics.  (George Grantham Bain assortment at Library of Congress/Public Area)

“That’s the way in which we do it in our household,” Roosevelt Jr. reportedly mentioned, in response to American Legion Journal editor Jeffrey Stoffer. 

Theodore Jr. was the president’s oldest son. 

“That’s the way in which we do it in our household.”

Few boys in American historical past have been born beneath a bigger shadow. 

Few males in American historical past did extra to shine their very own mild on the nation.

Roosevelt even based a nascent model of the American Legion in New York state in 1915, earlier than the U.S. joined World Conflict I. 

American Legion

Michelle Evans with the American Legion Carter Publish carries the Legion flag that heavy wind blew in her face in the course of the annual Veterans Day parade that made its means down Tremont Road to Metropolis Corridor Plaza in Boston on Nov. 11, 2016.  (John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe by way of Getty Pictures)

It had grown to 25,000 members by the point the group, the nation and the Roosevelt lives have been interrupted by World Conflict I.

Roosevelt Jr. ended up on the entrance traces of a horrific battle during which 320,000 American doughboys have been killed or wounded in lower than a 12 months of fight.


“He was gassed almost to blindness and wounded by machine-gun hearth,” mentioned Stoffer. “He walked with a limp and a cane the remainder of his life.”

His assisted stroll painted one of the vital heroic photographs in American army historical past 1 / 4 of a century later.

American Legion caucus Paris

First caucus of American Legion, held in Paris, March 1919, led by U.S. Military officer Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (Digitized and digitally edited by Tim Davenport for Wikipedia, no copyright claimed, launched to the general public area with out restriction. Unknown photographer. Marquis, James (1923), “A Historical past of the American Legion,” New York: William Inexperienced, Public Area.  (Public Area)

Brig. Gen. Roosevelt limped out of the ocean and onto the sands of Normandy with the primary wave of American liberators on D-Day in 1944, beneath lethal hearth. 

He would obtain the nation’s highest honor for heroism after inspiring males lower than half his age to victory on “The Longest Day.”

Tough act to observe

Theodore Roosevelt III was born on Sept. 13, 1887 on the household property within the unique enclave of Oyster Bay, New York, on Lengthy Island. 

He was the son of future president Theodore and his second spouse, Edith (Kermit) Roosevelt. 

Teddy Roosevelt family

Colorized portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) and his household as they pose outdoors, Oyster Bay, New York, 1903. Pictured are, from left, son Quentin Roosevelt (1897-1918); Roosevelt; sons Theodore Roosevelt Jr (1887-1944) and Archibald Roosevelt (1894-1979), daughter Alice Roosevelt (later Longworth, 1884-1980); son Kermit Roosevelt (1889-1943); spouse and first girl Edith Roosevelt (nee Carow, 1861-1948), and daughter Ethel Roosevelt (later Derby, 1891-1977).  (Inventory Montage/Getty Pictures)

Extra generally often known as Theodore Jr., the president’s oldest son was really the third within the line. Grandfather Theodore Roosevelt Sr. was a rich New York Metropolis businessman and philanthropist. 

Roosevelt Sr. helped discovered New York Metropolis’s Kids’s Assist Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork and the American Museum of Pure Historical past. 

He additionally helped mobilize Union troops and assets within the Civil Conflict.

“He was gassed almost to blindness and wounded by machine-gun hearth.” 

The second Theodore Roosevelt stays one of the vital imposing figures in American historical past.

He shaped the first U.S. Volunteer Cavalry in the course of the Spanish-American Conflict and led the “Tough Riders” up San Juan Hill in Cuba in 1898 — an motion for which he would obtain the Medal of Honor in 2001.

Teenage Teddy Roosevelt Jr.

Teddy Roosevelt Jr., son of the president, stands in a backyard with a big parrot perched on his hand.  (Picture by © CORBIS/Corbis by way of Getty Pictures)

Roosevelt parlayed his heroism right into a meteoric rise in politics, turning into president of america simply three years later, in 1901. 

Theodore Jr. spent his formative teen years residing within the White Home. 


But the Roosevelts maintained a reference to on a regular basis Individuals. The president proved it in politics. 

Roosevelt Jr. proved it when convalescing in a area hospital in France, when he met wounded soldier Sgt. William Patterson, reportedly resting beneath a tree. 

World War I gas attack

A U.S. Military soldier with no fuel masks succumbs to a poison fuel assault in a scene in all probability staged for coaching functions, in 1918 or 1919. (U.S. Military Sign Corps/MPI/Getty Pictures)

Patterson instructed Roosevelt Jr. that he had a imaginative and prescient after the battle to “go dwelling and begin a veterans affiliation for the great of the nation,” Theodore Roosevelt IV mentioned in a speech in 2019, because the American Legion celebrated its one hundredth anniversary. 

Sgt. Patteron was later killed in battle. His imaginative and prescient stays.

“That’s the entire level of the American Legion. To make the nation stronger.” 

The American Legion embarked after World Conflict I on a mission of veterans persevering with to serve their nation in peacetime, too. 

“That’s the entire level of the American Legion,” mentioned Stoffer. “To make the nation stronger.” 

‘Going to begin the battle from proper right here’

George Washington Publish 1 in Washington, D.C., grew to become the primary chartered American Legion Publish in Could 1919, whereas the Paris caucus that established the group was formally created as American Legion Paris Publish 1 in December.

Congress acknowledged the American Legion with a federal constitution on Sept. 16, 1919. 

American Legion parade

Lilly Maxwell, Miss American Legion 2021-2022, waves to the group on the annual Labor Day parade in Okeechobee, Florida. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Pictures/LightRocket by way of Getty Pictures)

Amongst its functions: “Defend the Structure of america … promote peace and goodwill … (and) consecrate the efforts of its members to mutual helpfulness and repair to their nation.”

Roosevelt grew to become one of many nation’s most outstanding businessmen and political figures after World Conflict I. 


His resume contains stints as assistant secretary of the Navy, governor of Puerto Rico and governor-general of the Philippines (1932-33). He was vp of Doubleday Books and chairman of the board of the American Specific Firm. 

His wealth, privilege and age gave him loads of causes — and each excuse — to sit down out World Conflict II. 

Casualties on Utah Beach

American medics render first assist to troops wounded within the preliminary landings on Utah Seaside at les Dunes de Madalaine, France, June 6, 1944. Different troops dig in behind them.  (PhotoQuest/Getty Pictures)

He insisted as a substitute on becoming a member of the combat, however first fought Military brass to tackle one of the vital heroic challenges in American historical past: Lead younger American GIs onto the seashores of Normandy on D-Day.

The brigadier common “insisted on the task. His first request had been turned down, however Roosevelt had promptly countered with one other,” Irish battle correspondent Cornelius Ryan wrote in “The Longest Day,” his epic chronicle of D-Day.

“It should regular the boys to know I’m with them.”  

He pleaded his case in a handwritten letter to Main Normal Raymond O. Barton, commanding officer of the 4 Infantry Division. 

“It should regular the boys,” Roosevelt wrote, “to know I’m with them.”  

"The Longest Day"

American actor Henry Fonda (1905-1982), at left, portrayed Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt Jr., with cane, in “The Longest Day” (1962). The film tells the story of the D-Day invasion of Normandy throughout World Conflict II.  (MPI/Getty Pictures)

Certainly one of “the boys” was his personal son, Capt. Quentin Roosevelt II, who landed with the primary wave of liberators at Omaha Seaside.

Roosevelt, 56 years outdated, limped out of his touchdown craft with a cane at Utah Seaside.

“Stomping up and down the sands, often massaging his arthritic shoulder … the one common to land with the first-wave troops,” writes Ryan. 

He was not solely the highest-ranking soldier, however seemingly the oldest man to land on D-Day; he was twice the age of many of the liberators.

Three U.S. generals

American World Conflict II generals, from left, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., Terry Allen and George Patton.  (Robert Capa/Public Area)

Roosevelt and his officers rapidly realized a colossal error: They landed 2,000 yards from their supposed aims, causeways they’d use to hyperlink up with paratroopers who had landed inland. 

Within the maelstrom of battle, alone in command, he was compelled to make one of the vital decisive choices of D-Day: Convey successive waves of troops into the errant touchdown spots, or divert them to the unique touchdown zone. 

“You get the phrase to the Navy to deliver them in,” he instructed a junior officer. “We’re going to begin the battle proper from right here.” 

‘Seasoned, exact, calm, unfaltering management’

Theodore Roosevelt III died on July 12, 1944. 

He suffered a coronary heart assault in Normandy, simply 5 weeks after inspiring American boys off the lethal sands of Utah Seaside and into the guts of Hitler’s Nationwide Socialist Germany.  

Grave of Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

President Jimmy Carter locations a wreath on the grave of Brigadier Normal Theodore Roosevelt Jr., son of former President Theodore Roosevelt, in Normandy, France, watched by his spouse Rosalynn and French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, Jan. 6, 1978. Roosevelt Jr died of a coronary heart assault in Normandy throughout World Conflict II, having taken half within the Normandy landings. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Pictures)

Brig. Gen. Roosevelt was 56 years outdated. 

He’s buried in one of many nation’s most reverent locations of honor: the Normandy American Cemetery on a bluff overlooking the D-Day invasion seashores. 


The gold lettering on his white marble cross headstone denotes his standing as a recipient of the Medal of Honor. 

“He repeatedly led teams from the seaside, over the seawall, and established them inland,” reads his Medal of Honor quotation, delivered in Sept. 1944 whereas the Allies nonetheless battled in France.

American Legion Post 40

Members of American Legion Publish 40 salute after putting a wreath in the course of the annual Memorial Day service at Memorial Park in Danville, Pennsylvania, Could 30, 2022. Neighborhood organizations and army veterans participate within the annual Memorial Day parade and repair.  (Paul Weaver/SOPA Pictures/LightRocket by way of Getty Pictures)

“His valor, braveness and presence within the very entrance of the assault and his full unconcern at being beneath heavy hearth impressed the troops to heights of enthusiasm and self-sacrifice … Beneath his seasoned, exact, calm and unfaltering management, assault troops decreased seaside strongpoints and quickly moved inland with minimal casualties.”

Roosevelt Jr. was given an inconceivable normal of accomplishment by his father. And but, he excelled in heroism. 

“I’ve by no means recognized a braver man or a extra devoted soldier.”

President Roosevelt himself was given equal standing along with his son when he acquired the Medal of Honor from President Clinton in 2001, 103 years after he led the Tough Riders up San Juan Hill.

“Theodore Roosevelt Jr., and his father, Theodore Roosevelt, stay one in all solely two father/son duos to obtain the Medal of Honor,” notes Theodore

Teddy Roosevelt Jr.

Tomb of Medal of Honor recipient Brig. Gen Theodore Roosevelt Jr. on the Normandy American Cemetery in France.  (Getty Pictures)

The opposite pair is Civil Conflict hero First Lt. Arthur MacArthur and son, World Conflict II icon Douglas MacArthur.

Roosevelt Jr.’s best legacy could also be, nonetheless, the century-plus of service to the nation and to its veterans supplied by the American Legion. 


The group instructions a seven-story workplace constructing in Washington D.C.

It lobbies on behalf of veterans on daily basis, has 12,000 chapters across the nation, and organizes charities, fundraisers and parades in virtually each American neighborhood.

American Legion Baseball, in the meantime, fields 5,000 groups of teenage baseball gamers throughout the nation. 

Meet Theodore Roosevelt Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and drummer from American Legion band in Somerville, Mass., 2016.  (George Grantham Bain assortment at Library of Congress/Public Area; Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald by way of Getty Pictures))

Texas Rangers shortstop Corey Seager, named Most Beneficial Participant of the 2023 World Sequence, performed American Legion Baseball as a teen in Kannapolis, North Carolina.


Stated celebrated World Conflict II Military Gen. Omar Bradley of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. “I’ve by no means recognized a braver man or a extra devoted soldier.”

To learn extra tales on this distinctive “Meet the American Who…” collection from Fox Information Digital, click on right here

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