Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hanging out with the Veterans

I have to admit, I didn’t know much about the Legion before we visited our local branch in Toronto a couple of years back.

But when my hubby (who served in the military in his late teens and early 20s) decided that it was something he’d like to join, I was on board. I was curious to find out what this Legion thing was all about.

With initial expectations of it being a social club for older Veterans (which is still partly true, but that’s a whole other issue), and the home of cheap beer (also still pretty true), I was surprised with how our Legion experience turned out.

Sure, initially (before they gave it a facelift last year) it reminded me a lot of my parents’ basement, circa 1985 (aka: a lot of wood panelling), but there was a warm, homey feel - the people at the Legion embraced us right from the get-go, encouraged us to get involved and visit often. That particular Legion branch ended up being a go-to place for socializing on random weekday nights and a must-visit on more ceremonial special occasions (like Remembrance Day or Canada Day). It was a laid-back place for my hubby to chat about military service with older Veterans, play pool or watch sports.

It’s a membership he decided to continue in Hamilton, even though we had been particularly fond of the branch and members in Toronto. This past Remembrance Day, hubby and I headed over to our local Legion branch to commemorate with other Veterans. We’d been there once before when we first moved to Hamilton and were pleasantly surprised by how active this particular branch is.

On Remembrance Day, the Legion was hopping, as we expected it would be. Veterans and other supporters were busy chatting and sharing memories (and yes, there was also Karaoke!). It was wonderful to see the older Veterans with their medals on full display, wearing their finest. Hubby decided that night that this was to be his new Legion branch.

While we are definitely still at the low end of the age range when we visit the Legion, here’s hoping we can start a new trend, with more Vets of my hubby’s era, their families and supporters getting involved as time goes on.

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