Have you ever considered the first impressions when entering one of our Royal Canadian legion branches? At the entrance we are often greeted with an overwhelming odor of cigarette smoke and a walkway littered with butts. Once through the doors we have to accustomed our eyes to the dark and gloomy interior with few or no windows. The air smells musty with stale beer and the walls are stained and yellowed with the nicotine of years passed. One wall greets us with row on row of framed and dower looking past presidents. Maybe they are remembering better times. The opposite wall there stands a large display cabinet of ancient WW1-2 and Korean medals, it looks dusty and unused. Not a sign of a medal from later wars. Crossing the bar I feel the eyes of the few members following my progress. No one speaks or shows any sign of welcoming, I feel like an intruder wondering if I have any right to be here. Why would I remain in this place of decay and ghostly shadows? Simply put I wouldn’t and I don’t. I’d much rather pop into MacDonald’s and share a very reasonably priced morning cup of coffee with my senior friends and neighbours, many who are veterans. That folks is my impression of today’s legion.
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