We need young people in service clubs

Posted1/9/2021 1:00 AM

In late November, Michael "Jay" Turner, at the ripe fighting age of 97 passed away. He was a very important friend and advocate for veterans. As a vibrant member of Deerfield American Legion Post 738, he often attended meetings and civic events. He attended Loyola University and after the attack on Pearl Harbor, enlisted in the Army Air Corps. Jay kept the war to himself until his later years, telling all who would listen about the experiences and history of WW2.

Few embodied the Greatest Generation more than he. Deerfield and America lost another hero.


While we miss Jay dearly, no fewer than 16 million Americans fought in WW2 and only approximately 300,000 of these men and women are still alive. We are losing roughly 250 a day.

It isn't just the WW2 veterans that we are losing. We are also losing American Legions and VFWs. With over 23 million veterans in the United States, the younger generation, like myself, aren't joining. In fact, Winnetka American Legion closed earlier this year after nearly 100 years in existence. Their membership went from a high of 500 down to a handful. The choice was simple to close the doors. This isn't an issue for solely veterans clubs. This younger generation also doesn't join Lions Club, Rotary, churches or political organizations.

As we see hope that the light at the end of this pandemic is near, please consider doing the following: Join a club and be an active community member. Support all veterans and your local (Deerfield American Legion Post 738) veteran's organization. Keep Jay Turner and his family along with those remaining members of the Greatest Generation in your thoughts and prayers.

Matthew L Smarjesse


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