American Legion National Commander Thomas Cadmus stopped by Post 28 (Oak Orchard/Riverdale) on March 10, en route a “Support the Troops” rally in Dover.
Cadmus is midway through a tour of Legion posts in all 50 states.
He was elected last August for the traditional one-year term. When asked how long he expected the tour would take, Cadmus laughed, “A year.
“I’m kind of like the goodwill ambassador for the American Legion,” he said. “Everywhere I go, I try to promote the programs within the organization — stimulate interest in what we do and motivate the members to get involved.”
He noted outreach programs like Boys’ State and Boys’ Nation (the Ladies Auxiliary runs comparable events for girls) and Legion baseball (started in 1925).
“We try to be a good neighbor for the community,” he said.
However, Cadmus also has a tougher side. When the American Legion feels a government policy runs counter to veterans’ rights, he makes the official protest.
Last month, he questioned a proposed increase to prescription drug co-payments and a $250 annual fee for Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits in the Bush administration budget.
According to Cadmus, VA health care funding should be moved from discretionary spending to mandatory spending.
A member of the American Legion since 1967, Cadmus (age 58), has worked with the National VA and Rehabilitation Commission since the mid-1990s.
He served as an Army armored reconnaissance specialist during the Vietnam era.
In addition to their efforts for retired veterans, Cadmus and the local American Legion officers voiced support for military personnel on active duty.
Gearing up for the rally in Dover, Delaware State Commander Corbit Goff said they were behind the troops “1001 percent.”
“Whether or not you agree with the war, our troops are there,” said Goff “We can’t do much, but we can let them know we support them wholeheartedly — and that’s not politics.”
Other than people who’d been directly impacted by the loss of a family member or friend, or had someone overseas or preparing to deploy, Goff said many Americans didn’t understand the reality of war.
Post 28 Commander Lee Glasco added, “We’ve been down that road before, with Vietnam. We can’t let that happen again.”
While Glasco said he happened to agree with the administration’s military strategy, he said he also agreed with Cadmus’ efforts for veterans.
“As far as I’m concerned, he’s right on target.” Glasco said. “Our troops are the ones that protect us and keep our freedoms intact — we can’t forget about them once they return home.”