By: Pat Smith, Department Adjutant, As Published in the May 2015 Observer
Your American Legion will soon be celebrating its 100 anniversary. That is 100 years of service to our nation’s veterans, to their families and to the communities in which we live.
The founders of the organization had a vision. A vision born of their shared experience serving their country in the “war to end all wars.” The foundation on which they built the Legion was based on 4 core values.
They believed that to protect our freedoms in the future that a strong national defense was the only way to do that. Hence the “Peace Through Strength” slogan was born.
They believed that the rightful education of our children was the path to prosperity.
They believed that our Stars and Stripes was the unifying symbol that held us together as a nation and it should be always protected.
They believed that the priority of our government was to take care of the medical and emotional needs of those who have “borne the battle.”
The organization has a long history of accomplishments in pursuing those objectives. The history is well recorded and one of the best ways to educate yourself is through the American Legion Extension Institute, which is available for study online at www.legion.org.
What does the future hold? Of course none of us knows! We do know that war seems inevitable and if the US is to maintain our freedoms and our way of life it will be up to veterans to secure that future.
The veteran population of the United States is becoming a smaller percentage of the total population. But the veteran population in total numbers is still around 20 million and has been for over 50 years. With future conflicts that number probably is not going to shrink much. Those 20 million will still need a strong advocate for them as they seek the aid and assistance this organization was founded for. That’s why the American Legion exists.
Your membership is important. The older members of the organization need to be the stabilizing force until our younger vets can take a leadership position. We always need new members to replace those who fade away for whatever reason. New members, new ideas, old traditions will keep us strong.
Take this opportunity to look around you and find those younger veterans and ask them to join. You don’t need to know everything about the organization to be comfortable in asking. The fact that you believe enough to continue to pay your dues is the strongest sales tool you have. If you want to know more about the Legion plan on attending one of our conferences.
This paper has information about our summer convention. Put those dates on your calendar and come join with your fellow veterans as we continue the great work of the millions that have come before. You owe it to them, your country, your kids, your grandkids and the future of America. See you at convention.