Our values stand the test of time

The American Legion
Dear Legion Family Members and Friends,

Before televisions and central air conditioning ushered people inside after dinner each evening, the front porch was a beloved gathering place for families and friends. Children played in the yard. Adults discussed the day's events. Stories, jokes and opinions were freely exchanged. Neighbors stopped to chat for hours before retiring to their homes for the night.

It was a different time.

That's quite a contrast to today when a text message or Facebook update is quickly sent before moving on to the next urgent matter.

Today's technology has many advantages over the days of old, but sometimes it actually creates a communication disconnect. Like many people, I would not want to surrender my cell phone. However, no matter how reliant we have become on instant communication, there's still a vital place for one-on-one human interaction.

For certain, the act of sharing a story about a Legion success on social media has great value because you reach so many people so very fast. But at the same time, we should not dismiss or overlook the impact of a one-on-one conversation with a prospective Legion member, public official, media representative or someone who needs to know what the Legion is doing in local communities throughout the nation and beyond.

Our American Legion Family members are working with veterans and helping them with their benefits questions, giving them job leads and volunteer opportunities, assisting the elderly at veterans homes, inspiring youth to participate in our programs, honoring the fallen by volunteering at funeral services and placing flags at gravesites, and working behind the scenes to make communities better.

You may or may not actually be on a front porch when sharing those stories and encouraging eligible veterans to join or inspiring others to get involved. You may be at the gas station, the grocery store, church or a sports event. And don't get me wrong: tell those stories on Facebook and Twitter, too, as well as our Legiontown USA website.

No matter the communications technique, the values developed on front porches decades ago – honor, respect, service, community – still resonate for Americans, maybe now more than has been the case in a long time. It's what The American Legion does every day.

Regardless of generation, prospective members and potential friends of our organization will feel that same neighborly bond that was shared over a glass of lemonade on the front porch years ago, as long as we make a point to look them in the eye and tell them in person what it means to continue serving.

Duty. Honor. Country.

Dale Barnett
National Commander

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National Commander Update
December 16, 2015 •  Issue No. 375

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Indianapolis, IN 46204


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