Make Cold War Vets Eligible for inclusion in the American Legion sign now

One of the defining excerpts from the Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion is "100\% Americanism". To this end, I would like to offer that those whose service in the five branches of the military during periods of "peace" during the Cold War was in fact service during a great war that showed 100\% Americanism. The Preamble to the Constitution of the American Legion states.....

We associate ourselves together for the following purposes:
To uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America; to maintain law and order; to foster and perpetuate a one hundred percent Americanism; to preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the great wars; to inculcate a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation; to combat the autocracy of both the classes and the masses; to make right the master of might; to promote peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual helpfulness.

I offer that every Cold War veteran has done this and more.
Members of service defended some of the most dangerous places known to man, and did so with honor and love for God and Country. Some of the service members were wounded, injured, POW's, or even KIA. Others were wounded, injured, or killed during day-to-day activities or training missions far from any hostile region. Still others are listed as MIA to this day. All during times of "peace".
The American Legion itself believes that the Cold War was a WAR. The following is a copy of the letter sent to the Cold War Veterans Association in support of a Cold War Victory Medal:
On December 17, 2002, The American Legion mailed the following letter to the CWVA:
Dear Chairman Milum,
Many members of The American Legion, of course, served during the Cold War to include service during the Korean War, Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and other conflicts. Likewise, we salute all those [who] served during the Cold War period. Recognizably, it was a war, a test of wills between the United States and the Free World and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and others with which it was allied. The United States and the Free World won the Cold War.
The American Legion at its 84th National Convention in Charlotte, NC adopted a position supportive of the issuance of a Cold War Victory Medal and, hopefully, Congress will fully adopt it as a provision in the FY 2004 Defense Authorization Act.
Sincerely,
D. Michael Duggan, Deputy Director
National Security-Foreign Relations Division



It is the mission of this grassroots effort to offer those Cold War Veterans who served during the non-eligible periods for membership in the American Legion "tangible recognition for that service". With the Department of Defense expressing their view that a Cold War Medal is not needed.......

On 09-18-02, the CWVA received the following from the Department of Defense:
Dear Chairman Milum,
Here is our response as to the status of Cold War service recognition. Please attribute this to Defense Dept officials.
The Department recently completed a comprehensive review for both military and civilian awards policy. As part of the review, the Department examined award recognition for military service during the Cold War. Based on the recommendations of the Services, at this time, the Department does NOT support the creation of a Service Medal specifically to recognize Cold War military service. Commanders have always had a variety of awards to recognize the service and sacrifice of service members, including those who served during the Cold War. The Department is pleased to continue the issuance of the Cold War Certificate, which appropriately recognizes military and federal service during the during the Cold War.
Maj Sandy Troeber

...and the American Legion believing the Cold War was a WAR, I petition every member of the American Legion family (Legionnaires, Sons, Auxiliary) to support an act of Congress to include eligibility for membership in the American Legion to those service members from the five branches of service who served and defended our Country during the Cold War. Some will say that the Cold War was not a real war. The American Legion itself acknowledged in its resolution for a Cold War Victory Medal:

"WHEREAS, The defeat of the former Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies constituted the greatest success of the American armed forces since the end of World War II."

Some will say that this will open the books to just about anybody in the service. I counter with the fact the books have been open since 1990 (15 years and counting) and that members of the armed forces have been injured, wounded, POW's, listed as MIA or KIA during the Cold War. Some of those service members were injured, wounded, POW's, listed as MIA or KIA during "peacetime". If members of the armed forces were lucky enough to be performing their tasks and assignments during the Cold War outside of the "hot" war zones, but during the eligibility dates, they are eligible for membership, but those who risked life and limb so that our nation would remain free and served outside of those dates are considered not eligible for membership. The issuance of the Cold War Certificate was a tremendous first step. But it was flawed. It recognizes anyone in military or federal service during the Cold War. Soldiers who risked their lives for their country should not be grouped with civilians working at the Post Office as the only recognition for their service. We need to go beyond the Cold War Certificate.

For the American Legion to take the lead to recognize the service and sacrifice of EVERY Cold War veteran would show the nation that these brave souls are not forgotten as "peacetime" soldiers. The membership rules as they stand now only require one (1) day of service during any eligible period. Some conflicts were "handled" by a very minute portion of the armed services but all members of the armed services are considered eligible for membership for that period. Members of Cold War service may have served four (4) or more years in hostile environments and under enemy fire, but are not eligible for membership because it was during "peacetime". If it is the Congress that does not want to recognize the Cold War as a conflict, and the Dod does not believe they are worthy of a Cold War Victory Medal, then it is the duty of every American citizen to ensure that the sacrifices of these brave men and women are recognized at a level that is worthy of their sacrifice. Membership in the largest and greatest veterans organization would be worthy of their sacrifice and a tangible recognition for that service. Admittedly, some will become eligible for membership, should Congress recognize the Cold War as a conflict, that never saw a day of action, but doesn't every member of the armed services, when they enlist, understand that at anytime they could be put in harms way to protect the United States of America, and the freedoms and privileges that are afforded her citizens. The American Legion already has such members, and they have served the Legion with pride and honor. An old vet once told me that it takes ten (10) members of service at home to put one (1) soldier on the battlefield or in combat. Since the American Legion does not delineate between combat and home front, service veterans from the Cold War would fall into the same category as eligible members do now.

Please seriously consider what I have put forth to you and think about the sacrifices that were made by those Cold War veterans during times of "peace". Please discuss this with your family, friends, Legionnaires, Sons, and Auxiliary members. It is time to include all veterans who have protected our lives and liberty with theirs during times of conflict and war. Please take time and sign the petition below to honor these great patriots.

May God Bless America
and may God bless our veterans,

Michael J. Rahilly



Support Inclusion for Membership in the American Legion, Armed Forces Members who served honorably 2 September 1945 thru 21 December 1991 - The Cold War
Submitted by: Michael J. Rahilly

WHEREAS, The American Legion is an organization of war veterans who have dedicated themselves to the service of the community, state and nation; and
WHEREAS, The United States Armed Forces engaged the forces of International Communism continuously from the end of World War II until the disintegration of the former Soviet Union; and
WHEREAS, The United States, during this extended period, relied on the manpower of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard manned by citizens performing their obligated duty to serve and defend the United States; and
WHEREAS, The defeat of the former Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies constituted the greatest success of the American armed forces since the end of World War II; and
WHEREAS, Many Americans in the United States Armed Forces were injured, wounded or killed defending the United States during the Cold War; and
WHEREAS, Many Americans in the United States Armed Forces are still listed as Missing In Action while defending the United States during the Cold War; and
WHEREAS, Many Americans served the nation in assigned duties without receiving tangible recognition for that service; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, By the undersigned petitioners that the Congress authorize eligibility for membership in the American Legion to all armed forces members who served honorably during the period 02 September 1945 through 21 December 1991 to provide tangible recognition for that service and victory in the Cold War which eliminated the threat of a determined enemy to overpower the freely elected democracies of the world.

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