To wear a hat, or to not wear a hat?
That is the question being posed to members of the Nakusp Royal Canadian Legion. Until the end of August, the Legion will be holding a vote to determine whether or not the wearing of hats should be permissible while inside the building.
Most people think taking their hat off in the Legion is for respect to the veterans. In reality, it’s a symbol of respect toward the Queen.
“Throughout our military messes, there has always been a picture of the Queen, so you take your hat off,” said Harvey Truax, past president of the Nakusp Legion. “Times have changed, and that’s what we’re asking ‘Do you want to make the change or not?’”
Any member of the Legion can take in the vote.
Truax notes other Legions in British Columbia allow hats to be worn indoors. He’s heard from residents on athletic teams that if hats were allowed to be worn inside the Legion, they would be more inclined to stop in for a drink.
While wearing a hat indoors is not something Truax does, he sees the advantage of voting in favour of it.
“Everything we can do to get younger people in here is what we need,” he said. “We’re suffering because veterans aren’t here anymore. A lot of the members now have had no military service, because you don’t need to be in the military to join the Legion.”
The vote isn’t the only thing the Legion is doing to attract younger members. It hosts a games night every week, with activities such as darts, cards, and pool among the games residents can play.
While the Legion has been holding its own, even picking up new members along the way, Truax is noticing a trend when someone new signs up.
“It seems like they join and we don’t really see them anymore,” he said. “Maybe it’s some of our old customs that are keeping them away, I don’t know.”
He said the Legion has received the nickname of being a booze and bingo joint, which isn’t the case at all.
While he doesn’t want to predict what the results of the vote will be, one thing he’s sure of is it’s going to be a close one.