WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. (Jan. 27, 2014) -- Hundreds of American Legion leadership from throughout New York State converged on the state's Capital District Jan. 24 - 26 to address Veteran, youth, and community issues and the Watervliet Arsenal was there. Arsenal Commander Col. Lee H. Schiller Jr. was the guest speaker for the general session of the three-day event.

Whereas, the former arsenal commander last year focused on the Arsenal's historic 200th anniversary and the need to work better together to support New York's communities, Schiller focused his comments on highlighting the great work the Legion and Veterans do for the community, state, and for the country.

"One of the highlights of my command is my opportunity to engage various community organizations and community leaders about today's military, the arsenal, and about the service to our country by those who have worn our nation's uniform, in essence, our veterans," Schiller said. "Veterans are the glue to the great American tapestry that binds our communities to our military, but even saying that does not give you (Legion) credit for the all the great work that you do."

Schiller explained that something magical happens when a servicemember returns home and becomes a Veteran because most Veterans feel that their obligation to their country does not end when they take off their uniform for the last time.

"When a veteran steps back into the community, those obligations are forever inherent in their being," Schiller said. "But it is how that veteran leverages their values and life skills that move them from simply being a good addition to the community to becoming significant in the community."

Schiller praised the Legion members for not simply blending back into their communities, as evidenced by the Legion's involvement is such programs as Boys State, college scholarships, and to homeless and hospitalized Veterans.

Among the praise, Schiller also had a challenge to the Legion leadership.

"So, here we have two great icons of the community, the Watervliet Arsenal and the American Legion, both support the community, Veterans, and servicemembers," Schiller said. "I am a strong believer that operations have a better opportunity for success if they are integrated and synchronized with other organizations that can provide value."

Schiller then closed by offering the Legion to join with them as they cross the line of departure into the community as one team to ensure that together the two organizations, the Legion and the arsenal, better meet their obligation to those who have served, who serve today, and to those who will serve tomorrow.

The Watervliet Arsenal is an Army owned-and-operated manufacturing facility and is the oldest, continuously active arsenal in the United States. It began operations during the War of 1812, and celebrated its 200th year of continuous service to the nation on July 14, 2013.

Today's Arsenal is relied upon by U.S. and foreign militaries to produce the most advanced, high-tech, high-powered weaponry for cannon, howitzer, and mortar systems. This National Historic Registered Landmark has an annual economic benefit to the local community in excess of $90 million.