Depending on whom you believe, Colorado has over 460,000 veterans, give or take 20,000 to 25,000. Perhaps the new census will more clearly define our veteran population.

For purpose of this article we will define a veteran as anyone who has worn a military uniform or is presently wearing the uniform. Since we have a strong military presence in

Colorado with the complex of bases in Colorado Springs our veteran number probably exceeds that 460,000 mark.

Every one of these veterans acquired that status in one of three ways. First you raised you hand and volunteered to serve, as is the case with just about everyone in uniform today. Second you received that very personal letter from Uncle Sam beginning with “Greetings” inviting you to report to an induction center for a physical and possible induction into the Army, Marines, Navy or Air Force. During Vietnam the needs of the service dictated which branch of service to which you were assigned. Third there were a few veterans who acquired that status thanks to the court system… go into service or go to jail.

No matter which method put you into uniform you served and you did it with pride. For many of us service changed our lives. Unfortunately some lost their lives in service to their country and many came back with seen and unseen injuries. Our WWI veterans recognized these facts and knew there would be a need to take care of the medical and emotional needs of these veterans so they formed The American Legion, and within 10 years convinced Congress to stand up a new government agency called the Veterans Administration.

So for the last 91 years The American Legion has been an advocate for veterans before the VA. We know service changed our lives. We know the pride we have as veterans. We know veterans don’t consider themselves heroes; we were just doing our job. And we know we cannot rest when it comes to serving the needs of our veterans and their families.

For us to continue to serve the needs of our veterans The American Legion needs a strong membership base. Over 460,000 veterans reside in Colorado but currently only about 25,000 belong to the American Legion in Colorado and 2.5 million in the country. While those numbers are impressive we could do a much better job with 40,000 members or 3 million members. It takes time, energy and money to effectively advocate for veterans issues.

That’s where you come in. If you are reading this you are probable a member. You belong because of the comradeship we provide. You belong because of the pride you have in your country. You belong because you know the American Legion can make a difference in the lives or veterans. So look around you. Look at you neighbors, look at your church members, look at your professional organizations, look at the other community-based organizations and you will find veterans everywhere you look. Your job is to convince these veterans they need to join the American Legion. When you ask them to join appeal to their sense of pride as a veteran. Tell them they may not have the time to devote to the internal workings of the American Legion but their number counts when we go to Congress to advocate for veterans, 40,000 voices, or 3 million voices make a bigger impact than 25,000 voices or 2.5 million voices.

So how do you sign up members? Easy, have your prospect go to our website www.coloradolegion.org, click on the join button and fill out the application, pay $36.00 by credit card and your prospect is a member. Or call your Post Adjutant and tell him or her that you need to sign up a friend. The Adjutant will take it from there.

As the old Mission Impossible show used to say, “this is your mission, should you agree to accept it.” We hope you accept the mission and make 40,000 members in Colorado a mission possible. Thanks for your service and your continued support of The American Legion.