The American Legion’s largest annual meeting is the national convention. Each of the Legion’s 55 departments – the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, France, Mexico and Philippines – is entitled to a minimum of five voting delegates to the national convention. A department is granted one extra delegate, a member in good standing, for each 1,000 members (or major fraction thereof) 30 days before the convention. The five annually elected vice commanders round out the group of delegates present. The national convention delegates alone have the authority to approve changes to the Legion’s constitution and bylaws. The group is also responsible for passing programs that determine the course of the Legion, setting membership dues for the upcoming year, and electing a national commander and five national vice commanders to serve until the next convention.
The National Convention of The American Legion includes the following separate events: the American Legion Auxiliary’s National Convention, the Sons of The American Legion’s Convention and The American Legion Riders Legacy Run. The combined membership of these organizations is nearly 3 million worldwide.
Along with the above-mentioned and the annual business meeting, other significant elements of the National Convention include a parade, patriotic memorial service, exhibits, general sessions with nationally acclaimed keynote speakers, color guard and band contests, receptions and banquets.