I came across an unusual confab outside the coffee shop today. What was different this time was the presence of younger veterans.
“We’ll help you,” a young vet said to the group. “All you have to do is contact us and we’ll be here. Or there. Or wherever you are.”
I pieced together what was going on. The senior veterans were concerned about being able to form a funeral detail. One of their group was in the hospital and it wasn’t looking good, either for the veteran or the local American Legion Post itself. The younger veterans, probably Sandbox era, had come down to offer assistance (and home phone numbers) should they be needed for a funeral.
I stepped up next to the one who seemed to be in charge and went into my spiel.
“Join the American Legion here in town,” I suggested.
I explained that senior veterans make up the biggest percentage of membership in the American Legion nationwide. And they’re not getting younger. Day by day we lose more of them. Maybe a Post will have 20 members ... on paper ... but only three are active. They’re physically unable to pull off most of the fundraising events like they used to, and many Posts are likely to lose their meeting facility. Therefore, I finished, if young blood doesn’t come in and beef up declining membership, the groups would disband, gone forever.
Is this the situation in your area, Legions closing and disbanding due to declining membership? Here’s a thought: Go to a couple meetings. Find out what the Legion can do for you and your family, and what you can do for the it. It might be more than you ever imagined. Visit legion.org for details.
NOTE: If you tried to join before and weren’t eligible, try again. If you served at any point since Dec. 7, 1941 and were honorably discharged, you’re covered, courtesy of the LEGION Act signed in 2019 by President Donald Trump.