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Ask not what your country can do for you, ask you can do for your country.

- President John F Kennedy 

 
 
   
 

ABOUT US

 
 
 
 

Who We Are:

            The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is a nonprofit veterans service organization comprised of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, guard and reserve forces.

            We trace our roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. Many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves. 

            In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations that would eventually band together and become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. Today, membership stands at nearly 1.7 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary.

            Our voice was instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, development of the national cemetery system, in the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, we won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active duty service members, and members of the guard and reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. We were the driving force behind the Veterans Access and Accountability Act of 2014, and continually fight for improved VA medical centers services for women veterans.

            Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, in 2005 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010. And in 2015, we became the first supporter of the National Desert Storm War Memorial which is planned for construction at our nation's capital.

            We have many programs and services that work to support veterans, service members and their families, as well as communities worldwide. Please spend some time browsing our site to learn why No One Does More for Veterans.

 

PURPOSE:

            The purpose of the VFW is to speed rehabilitation of the nation’s disabled and needy veterans, assist veterans’ widows and orphans and the dependents of needy or disabled veterans, and promote Americanism by means of education in patriotism and by constructive service to local communities. The organization maintains both its legislative service and central office of its national rehabilitation service in Washington. The latter nationwide program serves disabled veterans of all wars, members and nonmembers alike, in matters of U.S. government compensation and pension claims, hospitalization, civil-service employment preference, and etc.

 

HISTORY:

            The VFW was reorganized in 1913 as the result of a series of mergers of previous veteran’s organizations which consisted of veterans of the Spanish–American War and the Philippine Insurrection. The VFW modeled its organization, terminology and ritual on the Grand Army of the Republic—an organization for veterans of all ranks who had served the North during the American Civil War, but kept the "foreign" aspect of the organization, thus excluding the Civil War veterans. The VFW grew rapidly after the First World War with hundreds of thousands eligible veterans returning from the war. As the American Legion was originally composed exclusively of First World War veterans, this led to a friendly rivalry between the VFW and the American Legion as they competed for members and recognition as the premier veteran’s organization in the United States.

            Between the two world wars, the VFW focused on advocating for benefits for veterans as well as combating communism. After the Second World War, millions more veterans were eligible to join the VFW. Membership steadily grew after the war peaking at about 2.5 million in 1993 with over 10,000 posts (local chapters) being established nationwide. During the turbulent 1960s era, the VFW supported the American involvement in the Vietnam War and condemned the counterculture trends of the era. Many VFW posts were unwilling to accept Vietnam veterans afterwards, but became more open to them as older veterans died off or their health did not permit them to attend meetings.

            By the 2000s, the VFW faced a membership loss due to the aging of World War II and Korean War veterans and the lack of enrollment from veterans of more recent conflicts. Vietnam veterans began joining the organization in larger numbers in the 1980s and 1990s.

 

PROGRAMS:

            Three national military services programs were created to promote community involvement, communication and financial support to qualified military service members: Operation Uplink connects deployed and hospitalized service members with their families through free phone calls. The VFW provides Free Call Days twice a month to service members deployed abroad.

             Since then Free Call Days have provided service members with more than 4 million free phone calls home. Unmet Needs was created through a corporate partnership to assist service members and their families who run into unexpected financial difficulties because of deployment or other hardships directly related to service. Unmet Needs assists with basic life needs such as mortgage and rent, home and auto repairs, insurance, utilities, food, and clothing. Unmet Needs helps meet unanticipated financial demands on service members' families that cannot be remedied through existing means and provides service members with the comfort of knowing that their families have additional support stateside.

            The financial assistance is in the form of up to $5,000 in grants that do not need to be repaid. All grants are paid directly to the "creditor" (such as an electric company) and not to the individual. Each case is reviewed individually and acceptance determined by a committee. Military Assistance Program is the most direct connection between military units and local VFW posts.

             Through the program, posts have held going away, welcome home events, and unit picnics for numerous military units. In the last five years the program has helped Posts host more than 1 million service members and their families. The Adopt-a-Unit program also falls under Military Assistance Program and connects military units around the world with a local Post that can offer resources and support. Annually, the nearly 1.7 million members of the VFW and subsidiaries contribute more than 8.9 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in National Volunteer Week. From providing over $3 million in college scholarships and savings bonds to students every year, to encouraging elevation of the Department of Veterans Affairs to the president's cabinet, the VFW is there.


 

 
 
   
 

Our Mission

     
  "That the purpose of this Corporation shall be fraternal, patriotic, historical, charitable, and educational: to preserve and strengthen comradeship among its members; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead; and to assist their widows and orphans; to maintain true allegiance to the Government of the United States of America, and fidelity to its Constitution and laws; to foster true patriotism; to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom, and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies."
 
 
   
     
   
 
         
     
 
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