I decide today it was about time to change the topic!! politics can really get under my skin, but it may also become boring to some readers, especially those not from Prince Edward Island. So folks for a change I’m going to talk about the Royal Canadian Legion, its not political right??? Many changes have taken place in the legion branches across Canada, much needed changes in my opinion. For too long the branches were run by narrow minded types. Most of us who have served have met them as the senior NCO’s on the parade squares and in the barracks. At their branch they generally wore their legion uniform and a chest full of World War two medals. If you were not one of them forget any idea of joining the legion. In 1964 whilst serving with the 6th submarine squadron, myself and a couple of shipmates went into the Dartmouth branch for a drink. We had just arrived in Canada and did not enjoy the current drinking laws in the taverns. It was a maximum of four to a table and no more than two glasses per person at the table. Well even though we wore our Royal Navy uniforms we were refused entry. It was explained we could only come in as a guest of a legion member. We then suggested we could join and become members, after all we were stationed in Halifax for the next two years. Sorry you can’t do that, you have not served in a theatre of war. That was over fifty years ago and since that time change has come ever so slowly and sometimes even painfully. There was for many years two classes of veterans, the WW2 vets (the real vets) and the rest of us. The WW2 vets ran the legions and in most cases regarded us younger serving member and more recent vets as second class. It didn’t just apply to legions, I once tried to enter a Naval Association Club and was turned away because I wasn’t wearing a tie??? I was wearing a cravat!(described in dictionary as mans neck cloth or old fashion tie). Today most legions are struggling to survive, it seems very few of today’s veterans are interested in joining the legion.Not hard to understand why, I’m a member and have been for 25 years, but all I do is attend the monthly meetings and parade on Remembrance Day. In my legion branch we have 23 actual veterans as members. We have over a 100 associate members and our main revenue comes from the ATM-Gambling machines and the bar. Is it any wonder I don’t frequent the club. I did recently present a resolution to change the rules of who could wear medals. I shouldn’t complain about the lack of change if I’m not prepared to do something about it. Whether my resolution passes we will have to wait until June 2015 for the Dominion Command to make their decision. Presently the law states only the winner of the said medal/medals may wear them. If the veteran has passed on, no one may wear the medals in his/her memory. Just another short sighted legion action and it really needs to be changed. I’m aware the law in the UK-New Zealand and Australia allows for relatives to wear their late father/grandfather medals on the right side on appropriate occasions. I would be interested to know if this law applies elsewhere, what is the law in the USA, in France, Russia etc. Maybe some one can answer those questions for me.
God Bless and keep reading