As national commander of the nation’s largest veterans’ service organization, I am always concerned about posts that have shrinking membership (“Legion, VFW posts shrink,” Dec. 15). The American Legion was not founded to run bars and banquet halls, but to serve as an advocate for our nation’s veterans, operate first-class youth programs, promote patriotism and stand tall for America’s national defense.

While the article pointed out the problems faced by one American Legion post, it ignored the new posts that are popping up on college campuses and our many thriving posts spread throughout the country. In fact, there are more American Legion posts in the United States than there are Starbucks coffeehouses. The article also ignored the thousands of highly trained American Legion service officers who assist veterans with their benefits, free of charge, regardless of their membership in the organization.

Indeed, the piece brought to mind an article in the Wall Street Journal that said of the American Legion: “The old members are dying off and the young ones aren’t interested. … Across the U.S.A., it is much the same. The American Legion, once a hub around which revolved so much of community, social and civic life, is slowly ebbing in importance. …” Of course, the Wall Street Journal article was published in 1971. Looks like the Star Tribune is intent on making the same mistaken assumptions.