History of the VFW on YouTube

U.S Department of Veterans Affairs - History

The original name of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States was the American Veterans of Foreign Service ( AVFS ). It was formed in 1899 by 13 veterans of the Spanish-American war, mostly of the 17th infantry regiment. Key events that followed are:
1914: Veterans of Foreign Wars is formally born from merger of the AVFS ( Ohio-Pennsylvania ) and army of the Phillippines ( Denver ) at the Pittsburgh convention in September. Ladies Auxillary also is formed. General order 10 had changed the name on Aug 1 after a post vote.

1917: Theodore Roosevelt becomes a member. The ex-president joins in July in Pittsburgh. He is the first of eight U.S. Presidents to eventually join the VFW. The others are: Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, Gerald R. Ford & George H.W. Bush.

1925: VFW national home in Eaton Rapids, Mich. Begins its tradition of caring for families in need.

1930: Veterans Administration ( VA ) is created after strong advocacy by the VFW. VA incorporates the veterans bureau.

1931: VFW succeeds in its campaign to make the star-spangled banner the national anthem.

1938: Armistice Day ( Nov 11 ) becomes a legal holiday ( pl 510 ) after a 20 year campaign waged by the VFW.

1944: GI bill of rights ( pl 346 ) provides unprecedented benefits to WW2 veterans. The VFW is instrumental in its passage.

1946: Membership in the VFW reaches more than 1.5 million in the immediate aftermath of WW2, which boosted the ranks by 728 % from 1941.

1950: Life membership is instituted - an innovation to attract and retain members.

1954: Nov 11 is designated Veterans Day ( pl 380 ) to honor veterans of WW2, Korea and subsequent wars.1978: Women are formally admitted to the VFW.

1984: Membership passes the 2 million mark.

1995: Patriot’s Pen, an essay writing contest is created for 7th & 8th graders to express their views about democracy.

1998: Voice of democracy gives $2.6 million in college scholarships and prizes to students in every state.

1999: The VFW celebrates its 100th anniversary highlighted by the National Convention in Kansas City, MO.

2004: National World War 2 memorial is dedicated on may 29th. The VFW donated $ 6 million.

2008: Post- 9 / 11 veterans educational assistance act ( pl 110-52 ) signed into law June 25, provides generous education benefits for Iraq & Afghanistan veterans. Such a bill had been fought for by the VFW for 10 years before passage.

2013: Stolen Valor Act ( pl 113-12 ) signed June 3, restores protection to military awards for valor.