I find this particularily offensive when we are commemorating your services.
Thats a rather arrogant comment. Our services? I thought the Legion was an organisation started by Veterans in the first place, mate you don't owe us any favours. That being said, your dedication to the RCL is appreciated.
I view the RCL branches as a dismal organisation at best. Every single one I've been to is in need of a re-fit/upgrade/modernisation, and are dull and boring places.
How many Vets in their 70s and 80s now want to go out for a drink, travel long distances or navigate crap neighbourhoods?
The Legion in my opinion is dying, and they should have seen this 30 yrs back as the WW1 Vets were dying off. The Regina No.1 Branch is pathetic, the same furniture and fixtures for over 30 yrs. I avoided the RCL at all costs shy of 11 Nov. Why, they had nothing to offer me, except a small cliquiey bunch of dye-hard local swillers, who chain smoked up a storm, and looked down at their noses with us. No younger groups, nothing!
In 2004, I presented the Regina RCL a plaque, and the place had not changed a bit, and it was all but empty, on the verge of closing. It stunk. urinal cakes, stale urine, stale beer, and smoke, appeared unclean and was a real fizzer. A small kiosk next to the 1950s vintage toilets which was unmanned.
In 2008 I was to the Sask Command HQ which was a small musty dark dismal office from the 1960s, located in an unattractive run down building, in a dirty high crime neighbourhood (5th Ave, Regina). Poor parking and a total turn-off, and one single woman employee was all there was. Sad!
The Australian RSL seen problems coming decades ago, and every RSL I've been to is a prosperous and vibrant place, which knows how to make money, and preserve the ANZAC spirit. Ther torch was passed from the WW1 Vets to the WW2 and Korean Vets, then now on to the Viet Nam Vets (mainly in their 60s now), and even now the Iraq (I am in my 50s) and Afghan Vets are getting involved. The culture is alive well and grows not only in numbers, but spirit.
The general public too, feel as special bond as many of their fathers and uncles, etc have served, and they sign up with pride. The politics between the RSL and the ADF community is brilliant, and the anti-culture that seems to breed between the RCL and the CF is simply not there.
As ANZAC Day fast approaches this coming Sunday, my local branch wil be overflowing from public support, Veterans, Cadets and a ADF presence. RSLs even run private buses to pick and drop off members at their homes, for free! Subsidised meals and drinks for members with great weekly draws for excellent prizes.
Again the culture between the RSL, and non-veteran citizens could not be more positive and supportive.
I'll be sure to post some pics from this Sunday.
My two cents.
Here is a few websites which I encourage you and others to examine and learn from.
National organisation http://www.rsl.org.au/
Caloundra RSL on the mainland an hour's drive from here http://www.caloundrarsl.com.au/
My local RSL here on the Island http://www.bribiersl.com.au/
Finally, when I used to live in Sydney's south, in Cronulla http://www.cronullarsl.com.au/