By: Pat Smith, Department Adjutant, As published in the September 2015 issued of the Internet Observer
What an incredible national convention! If you ever get the chance to attend a national convention, do it! You will see firsthand the power and respect this organization has with Congress, our military and our communities. We are an organization worth the effort. You will know why you belong.
I was asked what my favorite part of the convention was. Jokingly I said listening to all of the reports. Seriously, that is why we hold a convention, to set policy through resolutions for the coming year. But my favorite part was listening to the American Legion Youth Champions. If you want to reaffirm your faith in America’s youth listening to them at the convention will do it. They were all articulate, shared their stories and their vision for a better America. Every one of these young people ended up on the stage of the convention because of their participation in a Legion program sponsored by a local Legion post. Every one proudly thanked their post for sponsoring them. Our founding fathers recognized the need to educate our youth to preserve our precious freedoms. Our youth programs continue that strong tradition. Go to Legion.org and you can listen to all of their speeches. It is worth the effort.
I can regale you with all of the details of the convention but I am not going to do that except to say Colorado sent two resolutions to the convention for consideration. We asked the national organization to delay the “dues increase” until April 15, 2016, to give our posts time to react and raise their dues if necessary. That resolution was defeated! Our membership team will be telling you more about that later. The other resolution came from Post 1980 in Woodland Park and it asked that The American Legion posts be permitted to honor deceased Boy Scouts with the presentation of an American Flag at their services. This resolution was referred to the Americanism commission for further study. And, it will be acted upon in the October meetings by the NEC.
Our Department Commander Tom Florez has announced that our Fall Conferences this year will be an event. He is asking the districts to do something special to attract members to the event. We need Legionnaires from all over the state to show up, meet their department officers and participate in dialogue to improve our organization. He has promised there won’t be any boring reports or useless information passed out. The event will be uplifting and motivational. Depending on the venue he may show some of the Youth Champions speeches. The event will be all about making The American Legion stronger, not only in numbers but in influence.
We face many challenges as we seek to preserve our freedoms. We wore the uniform proudly for that very reason. Our younger veterans from the Global War on Terrorism need to understand that The American Legion is the best place for them to make a difference. They share our vision for a strong and free America! They too can make a commitment to work within the ranks of this organization and in doing so they too will secure their legacy.
“Vision, Commitment, Legacy – American Legion Strong – America Strong!”