Got this letter from the American Legion Riders this afternoon. We have to remove the bottom bar with our city name from the back of our vests.
To : Kansas ALR Chapter Directors / Co- Directors & members
Regarding : Directive to remove bottom bar patch
Priorty : high
We are all proud members of the Legion Family first and foremost , we are also members of the American Legion Riders a Motorcycle Association and a Department Program of the American Legion and soon to be a National Program of the largest Veterans Service Organization in the world “ The American Legion”
Like most of our Brothers & Sisters who belong to the Kansas Legion Riders we were not familiar with the Motorcycle Club World or how it operated when we joined and were involved in the set up of the Kansas ALR.
In the past six years we have received quite a lesson.
2001- Kansas ALR began , a patch layout was determined by the only two Chapters in existence at the time ( Mulvane 136 & Sedgwick 268 ) hence the three patch layout we are using today .
We did this incorrectly in 2001 and have had issues ever since – it is time to follow the correct way to wear our back patches if we are to continue as our By-Laws State to “ provide a social atmosphere for American Legion members who share the same interest “ which includes our families.
Motorcycle Club patches as recognized today
· A one-piece patch normally signifies a family club or Social motorcycle club when it’s done with respect to area clubs.
· A two-piece patch can have many different meanings as long as it’s done with respect to area clubs
· A three-piece patch normally means that the club is a Traditional MC club. With the top rocker being the club name, the middle being their patch and the bottom being territory they exist in.
“ Biker World “ education: You learn to ride a motorcycle safely and so we must learn to co-exist in the world we have entered with other MCs / Associations / Groups. Since most biker clubs / associations are not outlaw clubs they have no issue with us as long as we stay out of their business and follow biker protocol. As mentioned most clubs/ associations are not outlaw clubs and don’t wear a top and bottom rocker. They may have a top rocker BUT if they have a bottom patch it WILL NOT have State, City or County wording on it. Most States have it’s dominant 1% club where these same rules apply.
Additional information is available at : http://home.earthlink.net/~rcvsmc-edu/
We have entered the world of the M/Cs and when we have a 3 patch ,
It is all about respect- the M/Cs have been around a long time. They respect the ALR for what we do but in MC world we are showing disrespect by wearing our three piece patch when we are not in fact a MC. ( bottom bar specifically)
To have our Post Rocker / ALR symbol including Kansas Chapter is acceptable on our back patch and serves our purpose.
Vest front 4 inch Legion , SAL or Aux patch - Post # on top & Town on bottom which is no problem and also lets people know where your Chapter is located.
Q & A
Question : Don’t you feel us as Veterans we have earned the right to wear our patches ? and also the S.A.L. & Aux. that are wearing their patches for their loved ones? The American Legion has been in existence since 1919 long before the MCs
Answer: Yes I do, and many have paid with physical and mental scars but this issue is not about our Legion patch we must consider that years ago when the M/Cs set up their rules for membership into their particular Club. Patches were and still are a main part of their rules. They determined that they would respect each others territory and one of the ways that territory is defined is by back patches. We have every right to wear our ALR Emblem and our Post # we should not display a town, State or display a 3 patch layout on our back patches . Kansas ALR is one of the very few States that operate with a three piece patch. some ALR have had trouble in other States and have had to change their layout.
Question : what if another M/C enters Kansas and decides they don’t like our ALR Eagle?
Answer : There is NO reason that will ever happen ...but if it should we will have to deal with it at that time. There are no guarantees in life. After listening to many other ALR members from Kansas and other States and those Officers from some M/Cs the Bar patch is the only issue. It is patch # 3 and it states a town (territory.)The other Veterans MCs are backing us on this (there will be NO other changes necessary)
Question : do you feel these patch issues have affected the members of the Kansas ALR ?
Answer : Not yet... . If the safety or any other negative events occur to any of our members due to a patch issue it will affect all of us.
All of us have tremendous courage to stand up for what we feel is right, we have shown that in the past , but we feel that would be wrong in this instance. We need to comply with Motorcycle Club/ Associations Protocol if we are to co-exist with them.
Following is an example of one of our ALR brothers comments “
“ On the front of my vest- “ the name my parents gave me. A US Flag that I fought for and would do so again at the drop of a hat. My combat patches worn while I was in combat. The Patriot Guard patch worn for our fallen. The American Legion emblem for all Veterans, past present and future. ALL of these patches are important to me because this is what I stand for and will continue to stand for- out of sheer respect to my Country, my Country’s fallen, my combat brothers, my parents, and my American Legion---the back – oh well- if it interferes with the front of my vest I will fix it “ ( Iraq Vet )
I have received since the first mailing many comments – most positive – but some comments such as “ I can wear what I want on my vest “ “ they ( MCs ) better not mess with me or my family “ “ No group ( s) are going to dictate to me what I can wear and not wear on my vest “ “ My Chapter will not remove the bottom bar ( town ) “ “ I have been all over this country and no one ever said anything to me “
What we all need to understand : it is NOT about you or me it is about continuing the “ Mission” of the Kansas ALR. It is about our other Brother & Sister ALR members that reside in other parts of Kansas. It is about all Chapters staying uniform. It is always to remember “ WE ARE NOT A MOTORCYCLE CLUB “ we are a part of the largest Veterans Service Organization in the world. As much as we accomplish for our Veterans , if we can not co-exist with other motorcycle groups/ associations & MCs in Kansas and the American Legion name was to become tarnished I am sure they would not find it
unacceptable to continue their support.
There is not one motorcycle club or association that even comes close as to what we do for our Veterans & Communities and if you feel you need to look like a Motorcycle Club to complete your “ Mission “ you are wrong.
While in Winter Park last week for the Salute To American Veterans & POW/MIA Ride one of the Guest speakers at the program was Congressional Medal of Honor winner Navy Seal Michael Edwin Thornton ( Vietnam – 31, Oct. , 1972 ) after the Ceremony Kansas ALR was having a cook out at the Hotel…Ed Thornton stopped by to shake everyone’s hand and give us a big hug of thanks to the Kansas Legion Riders for what we do…I doubt he cared what town we were from all he knows is the Kansas ALR supports our Military & their families.