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Opening Arguments

Old Men's War

This story about a challenge being faced by veterans' organizations makes it sould like a new phenomenon, but it's not:

EDINBURGH, Indiana — Membership in local military organizations is changing; and attracting new, younger members is a key to keeping the groups running.

But getting those younger veterans from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to join and get involved remains a tough sell for some local groups.

For the Edinburgh American Legion Post 233 and VFW Post No. 6978 in Whiteland, membership has dropped about 10 percent in recent years.

The old codgers in lodges (catchy phrase, what?) always have trouble persuading the young warriors to join. In my day, the World War II vets had trouble getting through to us Vietnam whippersnappers, just like we can't get throuh now to the Iraq whippersnappers. I imagine the Revolutionary War vets sitting down have havinf earnest, but fruitless talks  with War of 1812 vets. "You think this little dustup with the Brits was a real war, sonny? Joine us, and we'll tell you about the time they were really dangerous."

Call it the Old Men's War. Sitting around and hashing over military experiences is something we're more inclined to do as we get older. When we're in the military (especially for those of us who remember the draft), there's always a lot of griping and whining. But the minute we get out, it becomes one of the most important experiences of our lives.