My Fellow Veterans:
If you are between the ages of 18-50 and now serving or are an honorably discharged veteran, the American Legion needs and wants you as a member. We need your youth, your ideas, and your experiences. Right now the average age of an American Legion member is 67 years old, with 400,000 members over the age of 80. The American Legion membership is 1.3 million members strong but, right now, it is lacking younger members to carry on our legacy.
We are not a bunch of old veterans sitting in a bar drinking beer and telling war stories, nothing can be further from the truth. Members of the American Legion support their communities by raising funds, helping with sporting events, and keeping patriotism alive. We support all activities related to veterans by placing wreaths and flags on veterans’ graves, marching in parades and performing memorial ceremonies. Members of the American Legion also have been and still are instrumental in working very hard ensuring all levels of government are aware of the concerns and needs of us veterans.
In years past, a majority of the members in the Senate and Congress have been veterans, but right now it’s a minority. Only 77 Representatives and 18 Senators, or less than one in five are veterans. They do not know or have experienced military life. It’s hard for them to understand what it’s like to spend hours in a Chemical suit, hours on patrol, only to come back to base and spend hours cleaning gear and getting ready for the next patrol or the deep feeling in your gut when things go south. They have not experienced the issues related to transitioning from a military life to becoming a civilian.
We need you, our younger veterans, to get them to understand. We need you to get our membership numbers up as we show them that demographic, your age group! Many of the reforms the American Legion is trying get past, is based on all you have experienced and are dealing with now; Gulf war syndrome, PTSD, Burn-pit illnesses, suicides, and many other issues related to the Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The American Legion is an organization that has been around for over one hundred years, with veterans helping veterans. Who is more qualified to work with the Government to improve benefits for our so richly deserving veterans then veterans themselves? The American Legion has found it harder and harder to get veteran reforms past due to their declining membership. The larger our membership numbers and the more diverse we are, the louder our voice will become. Your experiences and membership will help Senators and Congressmen understand what veterans of today are going though and the help that they need.
Please consider becoming a member of the American Legion. You are our future and hope for those that are in need of help, both as veterans and for your community.
Your youth, experience, and ideas will go a long way to reshape the Legion and enable the American Legion to continue to serve veterans and the community for another 100 years.
For additional information, please feel free to contact us at 888-240-8188 or email Post Adjutant Frank Poirier at firstname.lastname@example.org or email Post Senior Vice Commander and Membership Chairman Bill Hocking at email@example.com
Commander Mike Craddy
American Legion Post 101