I am writing this in regards to a Letter to the Editor which was published in the January 23 edition of The Reporter.
In Chapter 1, Section 102 of the legion’s “Ritual, Awards and Protocol Manual” designating “Legion Dress” and “Headdress,” it is not normal practice for headdress to be worn indoors with the exception of the Sergeant-at-Arms, Colour Bearers, members of the ladies auxiliary, by members whose religious doctrine or customs require that the head be covered, and by officers presiding at official functions, such as installations, and may also include those who are being installed.
I would hope all branches are respectful of those members and patrons who come to our halls and are unfortunately afflicted by illness and wear a headdress. Legion halls are much different today than in the past, in some respects. What has not changed is the mandate of the legion mission. The legions of today serve another very important role, that of a community gathering venue.
Many years ago, the veterans of our branch saw that change was coming and decided that for the branch bingos, caps would be permitted to be worn. Years later, there were some patrons who still felt it was disrespectful to wear caps and voiced a strong opinion. As a result, the members were informed that at the next members’ meeting, a very important vote would take place. A motion was made to remove headdress when entering our legion, except for special circumstance. The motion passed.
If the veterans of the past didn’t feel disrespected then, why should we now? Presently, there are a number of legions in Canada where the wearing of headdress is the norm. Remember, there was a time when only service veterans were permitted in the legion. Some excluded present day veterans. About 45 years ago, associate membership was introduced. It included parents, spouses, widows, widowers, children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, as well as nephews of a person or persons who are or were eligible for ordinary membership.
What the legion of today needs is for the present day veterans to join, become active, run for office, and lead the legion in the manner that it was created for. There is no doubt that there is a place for associate membership, that of serving and assisting, but ultimately it should be the veterans directing the course for the future.
After all, the legion of today exists to serve our military, policing and first responder personnel.
Always remembered, never forgotten!
St. Peter’s Royal Canadian
Legion Branch 47 executive