Not every detail can be mentioned because subject matters change, but there are four constants that happen at every meeting. These rituals are carried out without fail and with the utmost respect by every Legion post in the country. In fact they are sacred to every member of The American Legion.
At the start of the meeting, signified by three raps of a gavel on a bell, the doors are closed and no one is permitted to enter or leave the meeting area until all of the rituals have been completed.
1) The Pledge of Allegiance. The American Flag is recognized worldwide and is the cornerstone of our nation and represents us and our freedom. Each part of the flag has a significant meaning and we remember these meanings as we say:
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
2) Prayer. We are invited to pray according to our very first amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. Our forefathers established the freedom of religion, and thus the freedom to pray, as one of our inalienable rights. Men and woman in uniform have prayed for strength and guidance more than once in the face of danger. Our Preamble of The American Legion always begins with the words, "For God and country." God always comes first. A prayer might sound like this:
Our Father, how great Thou art -
You have blessed us in so many ways
and we thank You - for the opportunity
to unite in this moment of prayer, this
special privilege we have in America.
We ask Your blessing as we strive to
keep America - "One Nation Under God."
3) Recognition of POA/MIA. We recognize and honor those veterans who are still prisoners of war (POW) or missing in action (MIA). We pray for their return and respectfully place a POW/MIA flag over an empty chair at the front of the room. The empty chair signifies a comrade is missing.
4) The Preamble. We recite the preamble of The American Legion. The words are very direct and show a true dedication to all that we do. The preamble ultimately describes who we are and everything we stand for.
It is as follows:
Preamble to the Constitution of The American Legion
For God and Country
we associate ourselves together for the
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America;
To maintain Law and Order;
To foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism;
To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars;
To inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the Community, State and Nation;
To combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses;
To make right the Master of Might;
To promote Peace and Goodwill on earth;
To safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of Justice, Freedom and Democracy;
To consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.