Letter to the Editor: Veterans' groups are a dying breed

To the Editor:
Sep 5, 2013

To the Editor:

It’s sad that the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other service organizations don’t understand how to get a crowd and keep it. Have you ever thought about it? Do you ever see any young members in these organizations, even though there are thousands of potential members out there? 

These young veterans who have served time on foreign soil, defending us, want something to do. It has gotten so that the average age of the clientele in any VFW or American Legion is about 73 years old. They like karaoke and shuffle board. They don’t spend any money. Almost the entire parking lot is handicapped parking.

The officers discourage anything that requires any effort on their part whatsoever. They never try anything long enough to give it time to work. They have to open the doors to the public in order to survive, thus killing any reason for anyone to join the organization. 

It’s just another beer joint to the young veteran, with sometimes even higher prices than the bar down the street. Therefore I ask you, what exactly is it that the VFW and American Legion are doing for the young veterans?  

The membership and attendance of all service organizations are going down hill like a snow ball headed for hell, yet the leaders have still not been able to figure out why. 

Anyone from off the street can walk in, sign a book and gain admittance. They are, by law, supposed to be a guest of a member who is present, and that member is responsible for the guest’s actions.

Let’s make it a place again where a person can be proud to be a member. Let’s remove the stumbling blocks and make it a place for members and their guests only, as the law requires. By law it should be just this, but because of the slothfulness and lackadaisical attitudes of some of the officers, we have allowed it to become just another nightclub without any management. 

This must change if the service organizations are going to survive much longer. Most of them have already sold off property in order to remain alive. 

There is no more property to be sold, so as soon as they run it in the ground the next time, there will be no other choice but to close the doors. 

I have a feeling that the younger generation will start their own organizations before too much longer.

The bar managers and workers are hired off the streets. I’m sure there are plenty of veterans out there who would like a job if it were offered to them.

Hershel Butts

Mt. Juliet


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