Monday, September 24, 2018
Text Size

American Legion is quite active

I am writing in response to the article you wrote on Feb. 27 regarding The American Legion. The story was disheartening on many levels and should have been written in the context of a single Post, not The American Legion as a whole.

The American Legion Post in Gothenburg may be experiencing some internal turmoil but the story relayed by the post adjutant, in my opinion, was inexcusable. The post adjutant is typically the single leadership position within the organization that returns year in and year out. That position is the continuity between the post and the community. It is a shame adjutant Kugler has essentially given up on the organization and worse, dashed the hopes of boys at Gothenburg High School who thought about applying for the Boys State program.

The fact of the matter is The American Legion is far from disinterested. Every year we sponsor Boys State for roughly 400 boys, Junior Law Cadet for 80 boys and girls and Oratorical Contests. We hand out several scholarships to our youth every year.

Our riders provide escorts during funerals and when units deploy. Our honor guards pay their respects at funerals to veterans who are no longer with us. Color guards throughout the state perform at high school football games. This is really just the tip of the iceberg but my point being the first line in your article is far from accurate.

I would agree with adjutant Kugler that there are a good deal of Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans that are not joining our organization but I also believe that is our own fault in that we are doing little to entice this younger veteran generation to become a member. One question I would pose to adjutant Kugler is when is the last time he held a membership drive? I have a sneaky suspicion I already know the answer.

After reading your article I sent it to a handful of Legionnaires that have ties with the Boys State program. I am happy to report that the generosity of one such Legionnaire will ensure that a boy from Gothenburg will in fact attend Boys State this year.

The generosity displayed by this anonymous donor is a more accurate accounting of Legionnaires around Nebraska than that portrayed in your article. A leader will look at adversity and find a solution to ensure a positive outcome. Unlike others, this anonymous donor decided to take positive action rather than throw in the towel.

David W. Salak, Department Adjutant, Nebraska American Legion