'A Pledge to Service'

Capturing the attention of a younger generation raised on all things video has been the preoccupation of public relations and marketing firms ever since the NBC peacock started broadcasting television programs in "living color."

Today the Internet, iPods, DVD players and a plethora of electronic gadgets are all providing videos on practically every subject imaginable.

National Commander Clarence Hill has been advocating that all Legionnaires should engage these "emerging" media as effective tools to reach out to younger veterans and their families. The American Legion is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Now, a brand new video is available that targets the younger generation and offers a powerful new tool to tell The American Legion story in just under four minutes.

"A Pledge to Service" presents the Four Pillars of our organization in a fast-paced, highly charged production narrated by Ryan Gonzales, creative director for the Department of Florida and graduate of the 2009 American Legion National College. Four Legionnaires, veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, assist. With an original music score, the video ends with a call to join us either through the Web site or at "your nearest American Legion post."

Produced by Public Relations Commission staff, the video is now posted on The American Legion Web site and will be available free in mid-March on a DVD by request to pr@legion.org or by calling (317) 630-1253.

Since the video is an American Legion production and we own the copyright, all Legion posts are free to reproduce and distribute the video as appropriate. Some uses include posting on a post Web site for viewing on-demand; using it at membership booths running in a looped configuration; displaying it on a laptop or DVD player for individual membership recruiting presentations; marketing to cable and broadcast television stations; presenting it during public speaking opportunities to community and civic groups; and having local movie theaters run it as a public service piece before feature presentations.

"A Pledge to Service" will officially debut at the Washington Conference on March 2. Because the contents are not dated, the video has a long shelf life to offer unlimited marketing opportunities. Additionally, a series of four public service television spots are in production based on the "Pledge to Service" theme.

As with all public relations tools, your feedback is important. Share information on how your post is using the video so others might consider doing the same. Creativity is the rule.

The public relations commission urges all PR chairmen/officers to send your e-mail addresses to the office. In addition to receiving the latest press releases and advisories, a new PR "reflector" is being developed as an electronic forum for Legionnaires engaged in public relations to share ideas, ask advice and get the hottest PR tools off the press. Send your e-mail address to pr@legion.org.

Robert L. Morrill of the Dept. of New York is chairman of the National Public Relations Commission.

To post this video to your Web site or blog, follow these steps:

1. Click here to view the video on YouTube.

2. Copy the code from the "Embed" box found in the shaded window located in the upper right-hand column.

3. Paste the code into your Web site or blog to embed it.


  1. I would not say that our Legion in Jarrell TX fights for sufferers of PTSD. When you walk in the door, you are face to face with gambling machines. Many veterans sit there and lose their disability check month after month. They are suffering from PTSD problems, other mental issues and now, problems with gambling. Everyone there knows they have these problems but no one steps in, offers help or bans them from the machines. It ruins their finances, their family life and their self esteem. Not just one machine but several gambling machines and even an ATM machine set up next to them. The family members of the veterans, are also suffering from them gambling away their disablity checks and losing their retirement. I thought gambling was not legal in Texas - evidently they use the "donation" rule as a way to get around this law. Does the Legion make money off of these machines, or do they have some other vested interest in having them there? Do our leaders have an ethical or moral responsibility to prohibit Veterans, especially those with PTSD, when it is obvious they have a gambling problem, from using the machines? Is it really in line with the pledge and what the Legion stands for? I, like many others, hope something is done about this problem. It creates so much misery for our veterans and their families and this is not what the Legion stands for in our lives.
  2. This is an excellent video. Please make it available for us to download as an AVI or WMV file.
  3. I ordered the Video on DVD and watched it the other day, its great. But the problem is that no one is really going to see it. Unless they are actively searching for the American Legion or Veterans organizations in Youtube or on a Post's Website. I think it would be great for National to spend some of our hard earned cash on putting this video on TV as an advertisment. The Iraq Afghanistan Veterans Association is spending money on TV ads so why can't we. We are doing a terrible job in getting the word out that "The American Legion" is here for all Veterans. Its time we branch out and get this video on TV, even public access would do us some good. We should also advertise on Radio.
  4. Clueless is as clueless does as Forrest Gump would say. It is obvious by reading your comments Mr. Jacksix that you are not a Legionnaire and know absolutely nothing about The American Legion. If you are a veteran, I invite you to join our four million strong family organization and get involved. Only then will you understand what this great 90 year young organization is all about.
  5. Great job, once again!! I've already sent in requests for DVD's, this will break the ice with our younger veterans and open up discussions on "why should we belong?" Having a professionally made tool to get the word out is invaluable to all of us. So thank you!!
  6. For anyone who cares about their fellow veterans and their families as well as the future of our country, this video is a HOME RUN! And yes, it is targeting EXACTLY the right demographic. Well done, American Legion. I am proud to be a member.
  7. its great, but here in Puerto Rico, most of the posts don,t have tv's to watch it, also I propose that if posible it can be made in other languages for example here it would be spanish, hawaii I guess what ever language they speak besides english. The thing is that we have Veterans from many places and they speak different languages. thank you for your time. Vincent Ruiz Service Officer of Post 154 in Boqueron Puerto Rico.
  8. This video shows that The American Legion is as vital today as it has been for the last 90 plus years. The Legion is an organization devoted to veterans of ALL war eras. Membership is stable and growing. The American Legion played a major role in creating the VA. The Legion gave you the GI Bill. The American Legion brought benefits to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange. The American Legion every day fights for sufferers of PTSD and Gulf War illness. The American Legion had female members before women had the vote. The American Legion was asked to provide transition assistance -- which it does today -- when the Walter Reed scandal broke. The American Legion has raised millions of dollars to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families since 9/11. Just last fall, the Legion raised over $150,000 in a couple of weeks to buy personal items Fort Carson soldiers were forced to destroy in Afghanistan. The Legion is a far cry from "rusted and decrepit" and this video shows that.
  9. The first rule for effective communication is understanding your target audience. Target audience analysis is lost on the Legion and this video proves it. Steeped in the traditions of a bygone era and stuck in the rut of 1950's puritanism, the number of Legionnaires has been dwindling for a long time as the older generation passes on. Now, after dragging their heels in disbelief that anyone under 50 could be of any use as a member of Legion leadership, they are in a scramble to boost membership of those with a life expectancy of more than six months. As they reluctantly shift whatever focus they can feign to the younger generation, it is clear who still runs the rusted and decrepit American Legion: old, white men. Nothing about this video speaks to young veterans, or really any group in particular. While the black and white couples may have made a revolutionary statement in the 50s and 60s, it's overly contrived here and feels as awkward to the Legion as an elephant in a tutu.
  10. Dear jacksix, The American Legion has tried over the years to get younger members. We have made inroads to get members from all age groups and backgrounds. We are not prefect in this endevor, but by God we sure do try. Maybe in the past we didn't welcome the vets from WWII, Korea, and VietNam. We have heard all kinds of stories from the past in these regards. The Legion Family has worked for years to be a part of the local community. These days you are likely to see female Legion members as Post and County Commanders as any place else. We don't have any place on our membership application that asks for your Age, skin color, religon, sexual preferance, or your shoe size for that matter. The Legion has work very hard over the years to promote legislative action that has impacted younger veterans. The WWI era membership pushed our legislators to pass the G.I. bill for returning veterans. I ask that you Mr. Jacksix, take a closer look at the American Legion.
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