One Mission: Bridging the Veteran Generation Gap for a Lasting Legacy

Longer ago than I am willing to admit on the internet, I was born to very old Marine father. I won’t say exactly how old he was, but I will tell you that he was old enough to get away with lying a little about his age in order to join the Marine Corps during WWII. When I came along decades later, he was old enough to join AARP.

Photo Credit: Justin Battles Photography

Like any good, old, veteran father, he introduced me to the American Legion at a very young age. I spent the majority of my life hanging out with the older veteran population. Because frequenting the American Legion was my normal I, of course, took my friends there with me. On one occasion, I took a friend who was a Post 9/11 Marine Veteran. On that day, my friend, who was in his early 20’s at the time, sat and talked with members of the American Legion who were Marines that served during WWII. I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly it was that I saw between those former Marines that day, but I immediately recognized that there was something powerful about their conversation and it left quite the impression on me.

Over a decade later, I was reminded of that conversation between those Marine Veterans when Ray Whitaker reached out to me about supporting Spring Lake, NC American Legion Post 230, which was destroyed by flood waters caused by Hurricane Matthew. I remembered how powerful I found the conversation to be and, in that moment of recollection, I realized the conversation was remarkable because it built a bridge between two generations of veterans.

I am excited about the work The Teams are doing to support multiple American Legion posts because as someone who grew up with older generations of veterans, I know how important it is to build communities with them. It is projected that by 2035, all of our WWII veterans will be gone. Those old war stories must be told and heard and preserved in the memories of the current generation. It is how the history of the military is remembered. It is how we honor those who laid down their lives in the pursuit of freedom.

A few major steps being taken at Post 230 in NC that I believe will both support the existing American Legion membership and organically attract new membership and continue the building of bridges between the different generations of veterans include:

  1. A new facility that will support large groups
  2. News stories and social media campaigns that are both sharing the story of Post 230 and informing the public of what the American Legion is, what it does, and why it is so important
  3. Development of programs to support the needs of current and former military and their families

When organizations come together with a common purpose, the potential of what can be achieved is endless. I look forward to all the Teams, the American Legion, and the other amazing partners that have come forward join the mission will achieve in the pursuit of doing the greatest good for the military community.