Dear American Legion Family and Friends,
It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since I presented The American Legion’s legislative priorities to a joint session of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. Soon after that March 2020 testimony, life in our beloved United States changed dramatically.
Social-distancing guidelines were implemented. Masks became commonplace. Businesses closed or adapted their operating practices to the new protocols. All of these measures were due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 500,000 Americans.
Unfortunately, The American Legion has also had to cancel events due to safety concerns. But while this year’s Washington Conference has gone virtual, I am proud to say that we will not let the pandemic affect our ability to impress upon Congress the urgent needs of our nation’s veterans, servicemembers and their families.
Although I will be delivering my testimony virtually, I can’t make our case alone. I need your help. Congress has suspended in-person meetings, but that does not mean you cannot reach your legislators. Instead, there are a number of digital platforms you can use as an advocate under current conditions. Visit www.legion.org/washingtonconference for guidance on how to engage your lawmakers, the Know Before You Go presentation, the 2021 legislative agenda and more resources.
There are many more ways in which you can participate in this year’s Washington Conference from the comfort of your own home. All of the commission meetings will be available for viewing via Zoom. You may also virtually attend a special joint panel coordinated by the National Security and Veterans Employment & Education commissions, the TBI-PTSD Suicide Prevention Committee meeting, and other meetings. The full schedule and links to register via Zoom can be found here.
While I will miss seeing many friends and colleagues face-to-face for our annual Washington Conference, I am pleased that we are able to adapt and overcome these challenges brought on by the coronavirus. It’s the least we can do for the veterans and their families who need our support and influence as the nation’s largest veterans service organization.
Thank you for what you do, virtually and in person, to better our organization every day.