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"The smoking lamp" is lit

June 18, 2014
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

One of the first things learned in Basic Training is the existence of "the smoking lamp." How it is lit, and how it is extinguished.

Not too long ago an attempt to ban smoking was undertaken at Post 136 of The American Legion Pine Island. A proposal was put forth and arrangements to hold a vote pro or con, a plurality required. Written notice was sent out and much debate and politicking ensued.

Personally, I understand the dangers of smoking and do not approve. But, I voted against the ban.

The debate that ensued and the politicking surrounding it drew my attention when a neighbor pointed out that passing the measure would be good because we are losing a lot of business because of the smoke.

Pine Island Post 136 of The American legion is not a "business!" Certainly the lounge and kitchen make it seem that way and almost any resident can afford themselves of this benefit by joining any of the affiliate organizations such as the Legion Riders, The Sons of the Legion or the Ladies Auxiliary of the Legion or by simply being an invited guest. But the fact is it is a veterans post, and if you consult Websters, there is no mention of "business."

The object of the post is the benefit of the veteran. This seems to have been lost in the metamorphosis of Post 136. It's design and original construction was to accommodate the hundreds of veterans that called Pine Island home.

That population has changed significantly. As the demographic shifted, the post began to attend more to the general population. And it has done an excellent job in this undertaking. However, the baby has almost gone out with the bath water. It is a post for veterans! The low prices are compliments of veteran members. We are not in business, and most do not want to take business away from our neighbors.

If the community needs a "business" such as Post 136, a referendum to sell the plant to some chain of bars could certainly be initiated and the profits split up among the few who own the establishment.

This won't happen, nor should it. What should happen is the politicking involved should be channeled into undertakings that benefit those who wrote that blank check up to and including their lives.

You see, as veterans, we can deal with a problem of too much smoke. We can extinguish the "smoking lamp" or light it as needed. We have very many guests, probably 5 to 1 veterans, on average, who would not understand the command.

Stop by Post 136. And smoke 'em if ya got 'em. But know why Post 136 is there!

Martin Hastings,

R & F Member, Post 136



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