I wish to thank Jerry and Frank for all their dedicated work. Thank you again. We have to stay the course for this CWSM.
For some of you, in the Nov. 12' issue of the American Legion Magazine, the National Commander, James Koutz, had an article about membership in the Legion. A few years back, the Legion would boast how they were the largest wartime veterans organization with three million members. The Commander would go on to say how important it is to have a growing membership, more boots on the ground, more voices to be heard, etc. According to the article, the Legion has a membership of 2.4 million members. That is quite a drop in numbers from just a few years ago. The goal of the Legion is to reach 3.3 million members by the year, 2019, the 100th birthday founding of the Legion. This is all wonderful and nice. That would mean that their would have to be an increase of nine hundred thousand more members to be added to what the membership numbers are right now. I wish them luck with that one. Does this new membership goal take into account over the next seven years how many more WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Era Veterans are no longer going to be members?(For whatever reason or reasons). It would seem logical that many more than nine hundred thousand new members would be needed to keep up their political power base, if they have any at all.
I wrote a letter to the National Headquarters of the Legion some years back asking them that if they support the concept of recognizing the services and sacrifices of former veterans so much, then how come they refuse to continue to include in their yearly national adopted resolutions support for a CWSM? To get a national resolution adopted, the proposed resolution has to start at a local post level, as many of us are aware. I tried that in my state of New York, back in March of 2009. When this propsed resolution got to the Dept. of State level, it was voted down. An answer I received was; " We are not in the business of telling the Congress which medals to support..." Nice response from the Legion! If one were to read the many nationally adopted resolutions approved by the Legion just this past summer, one would have to conclude that some of these resolutions are very flaky indeed. Perhaps, this is just a guess on my part, that if the Legion is going to push for a CWSM, then the Congress and or the DoD might indicate that funding for this medal could reduce VA medical coverage because it would have to be paid for somehow. I don't know. But you would never get an answer regardless.
It is incredible how someone years ago who was a member in the National Guard or reserve forces that was activated for national service for one day(during the U.S. Postal Strike) and be allowed to join the Legion whereas some men deployed along the Korean DMZ or the former, Iron Curtain, for a year or more, in "off-war" periods are told they do not rate veteran status, were not issued a NDSM, therefore they cannot join the Legion. I realize to allow all former Cold War Vet's who served on active duty to join the Legion would require a change in the Legion's National Charter by being approved by the Congress. There is no changing that policy. I can understand that part. What I do not understand about the Legion is that has the Legion's Executive board sat down with Congressman Boehner and Senator McCain and discussed the possibility of amending the national charter to include all Cold War Vet's? Is the Legion willing to improvise and adapt to changing membership conditions to keep up their membership? For whatever reason or reasons, the younger men getting out of service are NOT joining the Legion and the VFW the way that these VSO's want them to. So now they are scrambling for ways to get more members. I again wish them luck. I can only speak for my area of Legion activity. I live on the east end of Long Island, NY. The Legion Posts out here are run by predominately old men. They have no interests in any new ideas, thoughts, suggestions, about moving forward and keeping with the times. Many of them still think that the way of lifestyles of today should still be conducted the way things were done in the 1950's. A family only needs one car, one telehone, no computers, or anything modern. The Legion to them is just a place to call a social club for reduced drinks, dinners, and whatever else they can get cheap or for nothing. The Legion has its good points of Americanism, the Boy's State, their parades, and some people do work hard to support the veterans. But overall, they better do something or they are going to go the same way that the dinosaurs went.
Past Commander of Legion Post 803