• Commander Jonathon Ralph

What is your impression?


What is your impression?

I was doing some research via Google on a project for another Veterans group that I belong to ( National Army Security Agency Association ) and I happened to run across a comment about the difference between the VFW and the American Legion.

“One is a military club with a drinking theme and the other is a drinking club with a military theme.”

Unfortunately, that may be the public perception of the two organizations. This isn’t the first time I have heard comments similar to that, and it started me thinking why. Members of both organizations know it is much more than just a club. Both organizations are very active in Veterans rights, Veterans benefits, and Veterans medical care. And both organizations have strong national groups. Both groups support many community-based projects and initiatives. So why is there such a difference in perception?

The community and general public see both the VFW and American Legion in parades on St. Patrick’s Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day, and Christmas parades. But to a large extent, that is the only time they really come in contact with either group. We are not good at getting information out to the public about all the other events and work we are doing. As the old saying goes, “Out of Sight – Out of Mind”. Obviously, part of that comes from the fact that the local Posts do not have a lot of money. We depend on hall rentals and donations. Spending hundreds of dollars on advertising takes money away from our focus on helping Veterans and the community.

Both of our local Posts have spent a lot of time and effort setting up traditional websites and Facebook social media sites. With the use of websites and Facebook, we are able to get all of our information, events, and work where everyone can see them. Just take a look on our website where we keep a full list of all the events we have been part of this year. The Facebook page is filled with information. And with the combination, we are able to show to the community just how involved we are.

Once the community and general public see all of the projects and events we are involved with, I think they will agree that our Post is much more than the original perception. Maybe it will become “A Veteran and Community Support Group that just happens to have a social area.”

Jonathon Ralph

Commander – American Legion Patchogue Post 269


The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest veterans service organization, committed to mentoring and sponsorship of youth programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

Phone: 631-475-3822