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Thread: American Legion: one happy family?

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    Senior Member Robert F. Dorr's Avatar
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    American Legion: one happy family?

    I wonder what others think about this article, which appeared today in the so-called newspaper of record:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/us...anted=all&_r=0

    It appears to me that the reporter had a good idea for a story but never quite got around to researching or reporting it.

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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert F. Dorr View Post
    I wonder what others think about this article, which appeared today in the so-called newspaper of record:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/us...anted=all&_r=0

    It appears to me that the reporter had a good idea for a story but never quite got around to researching or reporting it.
    When the American Legion Headquarters spokesman says things like, "[WW2 Veterans] were the greatest generation. But now, the younger veterans need to pick up the gauntlet and continue the tradition.” and with no clear benefit to being a member, it's no wonder younger people don't want to join.

    You can only tell people they aren't good enough for so long before you become irrelevant. The same thing is happening to the VFW.

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    Senior Member Robert F. Dorr's Avatar
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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    Quote Originally Posted by imnohero View Post
    When the American Legion Headquarters spokesman says things like, "[WW2 Veterans] were the greatest generation. But now, the younger veterans need to pick up the gauntlet and continue the tradition.” and with no clear benefit to being a member, it's no wonder younger people don't want to join.

    You can only tell people they aren't good enough for so long before you become irrelevant. The same thing is happening to the VFW.
    I asked a World War II B-17 co-pilot how he felt about being called the greatest generation. He's a really smart guy and I expected him to see the condescension. To my surprise he said, "It feels great." Except when commenting on it as I'm doing now, I never use the term.

    Re. your comment about the VFW which is almost as geriatric as the Legion, the same thing is happening to all kinds of large organizations. See "Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community," by Robert D. Putnam.

    http://www.amazon.com/Bowling-Alone-.../dp/0743203046

    But the Legion is especially out of touch. They've rejected my generation (I'm not eligible to join) and they've turned off younger veterans (who are eligible) in droves. I was disappointed that the New York Times reporter didn't appear to have talked to anyone who is critical of the Legion.

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    Senior Member Capt Alfredo's Avatar
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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert F. Dorr View Post
    I wonder what others think about this article, which appeared today in the so-called newspaper of record:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/us...anted=all&_r=0

    It appears to me that the reporter had a good idea for a story but never quite got around to researching or reporting it.
    I just read it and agree with you that there was no "there" there. Could have been a good article, but the lack of analysis was glaring.

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    Senior Member Robert F. Dorr's Avatar
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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Alfredo View Post
    I just read it and agree with you that there was no "there" there. Could have been a good article, but the lack of analysis was glaring.
    Sent them a letter to the editor saying as much. Wish others would do the same.

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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    I just checked out three different AL post websites. Each one had a picture gallery of member events, all middle aged people either riding motorcycles with leather vests adorned with veteran flair, or same people sitting around the bar drinking cheap American beer, and of course, wearing Harley shirts, bandanas, etc.

    All websites claimed to support community service/events, yet none of that was evident from their photo galleries.

    25+ years in uniform and I'm 100% positive AL isn't for me. Oh well.

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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    A couple thoughts on the VFW, American Legion, and other such culturally established organizations (e.g. Bowling).

    1) The premise that once established such organizations will serve always have a place and serve a purpose is not realistic.
    2) The younger generation has established new organizations for themselves that serve the purpose the VFW and AL did when they first started (chiefly legislative representation/lobbying). For example, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

    A thought on "The Greatest Generation": I wonder if Brokaw sometimes regrets referencing an entire generation with a single catch phrase, given how it's been taken out of his original context and often misapplied.

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    Senior Member DocBones's Avatar
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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    I am the Sergeant at Arms for the local Marine Corps League Detachment. What I have seen there was and is a portion of the local MCL Dets composition.

    There are 50 members, and about 1/3 are from the generation of people that have been a Marine from the 1st Gulf War and up to present members of the United States Marine Corps.

    We are currently doing what we can for all members of the USMC, present and past.

    What I have seen of the AL can be contrasted highly with what the local MCL Det is currently doing.

    While being much larger than the MCL Det out here, there has been a large number of things being closed down, due to the poor leadership of the local AL.

    Their bingo thing, for instance. How can anyone that runs a bingo game cause that function to shut down? Time after time, they lose money.

    Going to a casino, as part of the fun that they sponsor? Not any more. They were drunk when they arrived at the casino. They were removed from that casino, for being drunk, rude, amongst other things. They have an injunction placed against them, to never return as a group.

    On their way to the casino, all of them piled out of the bus, and unzipped and let fly, in full view of the passersby.

    This was told to me by the bus driver, in total, who is a very respected person in town.

    I could go on and on, but I think that y'all get the point.

    At our MCL Det, we have to account for every penny spent, and every penny earned, which is done for the building supplies by one member, and for the bank accounts, the intake, overall, and the output, overall, by the elected auditor.

    Not once has the Greatest Generation ever been spoken of, within my hearing.

    I always thought that the AL and the VFW was a group of warriors that was consecrated to support of current and past members of the armed forces.

    It turns out that the leadership of both are into gathering as much money and paying themselves for jobs that should be done pro quo.

    I am not saying that any of this happens everywhere. However, if the local AL and the VFW is any sign of things country wide, I will never join either of these two groups.

    It's very disheartening, to watch both of these two service organizations being run by dishonest people. Their members, for the most part, are good members in standing. It takes one rotten apple to spoil the whole bunch, and there are enough bad guys even out here to make people turn away from joining.

    It is pretty much sickening to see an organization getting ruined from within. I don't really see anyone trying to turn those two groups around, either.

    Thanks for letting me blow off some steam, guys!

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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    I didn't appreciate how the article said that today's veterans "think they are too busy with work and raising a family." That right freaking there is why I won't join again. Excuse me if I think spending time with my family and taking care of them is higher on my list than warming a barstool. Maybe if any of them actually did something for local vets or the community I would at least pay dues and donate some time and money, but that is far from the agenda anymore.
    Disclaimer: All names, dates and locations have been changed in order to protect the guilty.

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    Senior Member Robert F. Dorr's Avatar
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    Re: American Legion: one happy family?

    Quote Originally Posted by USMC0341 View Post
    I didn't appreciate how the article said that today's veterans "think they are too busy with work and raising a family." That right freaking there is why I won't join again. Excuse me if I think spending time with my family and taking care of them is higher on my list than warming a barstool. Maybe if any of them actually did something for local vets or the community I would at least pay dues and donate some time and money, but that is far from the agenda anymore.
    That seems to be a widely held perception. Ironically, the American Legion was founded by very young angry men. In another irony, the Legion, with its sexist auxiliaries (the ladies auxiliary, the Sons), was admitting women as principals before women could vote in the United States. Today, the Legion is simply out of touch. As for the article, it only covered a part of the story.

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