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Bowers: War on terrorism is everywhere

Former commissioner says veterans organizations should admit first responders

May 31, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Ronald Bowers spoke Monday afternoon during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Hancock American Legion.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HANCOCK -- The American Legion and other veterans organizations should change their policies to begin admitting members who are police, firefighters and rescue personnel, retired U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Ronald Bowers told the crowd at a Memorial Day ceremony in Hancock on Monday.

They are the first line of defense in this country, Bowers said in a phone interview after the ceremony. "Those people put their life on the line every time they go out," he said.

"The dynamics of the world have changed and I think the dynamics of our veterans organizations have changed," said Bowers, who is a member of Morris Frock American Legion Post 42 in Hagerstown.

"Every Legion I go to, the age of the Legionnaires are getting old and young people coming back from Iraq and different places really aren't filling up the ranks," said Bowers, who is a former Washington County Commissioner.

Veterans organizations need to change their admission policies to preserve their organizations and what they are about, Bowers said.

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"What is the war now? The war on terrorism is everywhere. It's not just in Afghanistan. It can be in New York. It can be anywhere," Bowers said.

Bowers said it would take federal legislation to change the admission policies for veterans organizations like the American Legion.

Bowers was the guest speaker at a Memorial Day ceremony Monday afternoon at Hancock American Legion that was attended by about 40 people.

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