Our Opinion: Legion needs younger veterans

Published 7:00 pm Friday, April 29, 2022

On Wednesday, we had the honor of covering six members of the Austin American Legion Post 91 who themselves were honored for their long-time service to the American Legion.

They were part of a larger group to receive such a recognition, but were the only ones who were able to make it that day. In total there were 13 members.

It was an important recognition as having members who have been with the Legion for 50-75 years serves to demonstrate an established base for the Legion and all of the good it does for the community.

However, the day also highlighted a struggle that the American Legion is coping with across the nation. Not enough younger veterans are joining and that lack of influx from newer members is slowing down what the Legion is doing.

Post 91 Legion Commander Gordy Briggs said it best Wednesday.

“When you have longevity it gives a solid base and encourages younger veterans that this is important in their lives,” Briggs said before the short presentation. “We’re family orientated. We make sure that all veterans are welcome.”

The American Legion needs veterans so it can continue to afford supporting community activities, but also so it can continue to be a place that supports veterans themselves. The structure of the Legion, and its counterpart the VFW Post 1216, can be invaluable to younger veterans because it’s an opportunity to find and talk with others who walked in the same boots they did.

Some veterans may not need that support, but others have seen combat and that’s where that support can be so important.

In short, the American Legion is a support post for any community, helping to hold up the frame of what makes a community strong. We hope and encourage any younger veterans looking to make a difference in their community and who haven’t joined yet to consider being part of the American Legion. It’s an opportunity to continue serving your nation, your community and veterans themselves.