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American Legion: The ‘Long and Short’ of it

By Submitted by Pat Whitehall - | Oct 28, 2020

Have you ever noticed that when one receives a long document or a manual of some sort that it is briefly skimmed over, then put in a drawer, only to be taken out in the event there is a serious question needing an answer? And of course, when that happens, it’s a mad scramble to find what you are hunting for and trying to find it almost takes an act of Congress! One wants to find the answers in short order.

As I was perusing my Auxiliary Unit handbook, I happened to come across a chapter about the Eight and Forty. Now, I have been an Auxiliary member for 8 years and this is the first time I have ever heard of this Organization. Yet, it has been in effect since the Auxiliary’s National Executive Committee in Indianapolis back in June of 1922. Had I read my handbook instead of putting it in my file cabinet, I might have been familiar with the Eight and Forty.

Recognition of the Eight and Forty as an affiliated organization was granted at the Ratification Meeting of the Paris convention in October of 1927. It became a subsidiary organization by the National Executive Committee in January, 1933.

Reading further, I discovered the objectives of Eight and Forty are fellowship, fun and service as it is described in its constitution. The service was predominantly concerned about child welfare and assistance to World War orphans. Participation and contributions to the various programs of the Legion and Auxiliary are also an extremely important part.

One of the most promising assignments in child welfare work took place in November of 1932. It was made to Eight and Forty by the National child Welfare Executive Committee of the American Legion and was in the field of Juvenile Tuberculosis Prevention.

The membership is limited to those of the American Legion Auxiliary who have been in good standing for at least three years and qualify by having done outstanding service to the Auxiliary. Some of the ways to be of service is to have been in leadership as an elective officer, a chairman of a standing committee or by serving on major activity committees. A certificate of service of the individual’s participation record must be signed by the President and Secretary of the Unit and must accompany the application for membership which is submitted to Petit Salon Departmentaux.

I guess the “Long and Short” of it is that it is a good idea to read thoroughly any documentation or handbooks given out, whether it be from your insurance company, club membership or a contract you might be required to sign!