Magazine article VFW Magazine

Connecting with the Public

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Connecting with the Public

Article excerpt

Ensuring the status of veterans in American life requires conveying ideas and issues to fellow citizens, especially the young. This month's issue provides two examples of such efforts.

The future of the veteran's movement and the organizations that comprise it lies not just in the hands of its members. How we are perceived by younger generations will go a long way toward determining the extent of our influence in years to come.

To successfully complete our mission of continuing to serve veterans we need allies. They come not only in the form of sitting members of Congress, but also voting constituents. This is where public sentiment enters the picture. Much has been made lately of the so-called "civilian-military divide" by leaders of the armed forces.

No doubt, that gap has grown tremendously since the elimination of the draft. Once the notion of military service as an obligation of citizenship was abandoned, the disconnection between the troops and the citizens they serve widened.

And despite the noble efforts of a few and the rhetoric of many, genuine appreciation for and understanding of the sacrifices made by those in uniform is lacking among the public at-large.

That's precisely why a concerted effort must be made to directly connect with younger Americans while they are still formulating their opinions. That means going into the schools and colleges where young minds are molded. While VFW members have long participated in discussions as part of Veterans in the Classroom around November 11, a bigger presence will be necessary. …

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