The VFW traces its 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 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. By 1915,
membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000. Today, membership stands at more than 1.5 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, the VFW in 2005 became
the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new
Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.
Annually, the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and its
Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in
the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and
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.
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.