By: Pat Smith, Department Adjutant

In just a few short week Americans will go to the polls to make their choice for President of this great country. In addition to that race many Senate and Congressional races throughout the country will be decided. Decisions affecting the country and its people will be made and the path to the future will be set based on the outcomes.

The American Legion for its 94 years has always remained non-partisan. While it is true we are non-partisan we are political. We will not endorse any one candidate for any office, but we will speak out loudly about the issues that affect our country. Our voice has always been strong and will be heard.

One issue of primary concern to The American Legion is the strength of our military. We have always believed in “Peace through Strength.” The lessons of the past have told us that we cannot let our defenses down when it comes to protecting our citizens against those who would attempt to destroy our way of life. On the 7th of December 1941, America was caught with its defenses down. We let our military strength dwindle after WWI. We were then thrown into a world conflict with inadequate manpower and inadequate military hardware. The vicious attack at Pearl Harbor “woke a sleeping giant.” Americans came together like no other time in history and built the ships, planes, manpower and infrastructure to eventually defeat those who sought to enslave us.

Unfortunately it appears that our leaders don’t remember that lessons of Pearl Harbor. We are reducing the numbers in uniform. We are reducing our naval fleet. We are mothballing our aircraft. We are falling into that abyss of a second rate world power.

It is said that the cost of war doesn’t end when the shooting stops. As a result of the two wars we have pursued in Iraq and Afghanistan we have thousands of veterans who desperately need help from their government. They laid their lives on the line and now they need assistance. The American Legion was instrumental in the foundation of the VA system in 1930. It has helped millions of veterans in those years. In spite of many problems with the system over the years it is still the best health care system in the world for veterans. The employees truly care about those they serve. We must continue to advocate for a strong VA health care system.

So as you go to the polls this year please include the issues of a strong military and a strong VA in your deliberations. If we value our freedoms, fought for by so many in the last century, a strong military is a must. Taking care of those who defended our freedoms is a must. Make your choices wisely. America depends on you.

See you at the polls.