What Is National VFW Day?
National Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Awareness Day is a day to celebrate the organization that continues to do more for vets. On September 29, 1899, the American Veterans of Foreign Service formed in Columbus, Ohio, to advocate for veterans’ rights and benefits.
The group of vets from the Spanish-American War banded together for support when the government provided none. At the time, many soldiers returning from the war were injured, wounded, or sick. Yet there were no guarantees of care or federal agencies to oversee their transition home.
A few months later, in December 1899, the Colorado Society of the Army of the Philippines formed in Denver with the same mission: fight for combat veterans at home. Shortly after, the groups and other local chapters in other states came together to form the national organization, the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
What Is the VFW?
For 122 years, the VFW has been dedicated to advocating for the rights and benefits of combat vets. The organization played a major role in the creation of the Veterans Administration, pension benefits, and the national cemetery system. Today, they regularly appear before Congress with legislation as well as run programs that support vets in their communities.
No one does more for veterans. – VFW slogan
There are over 1.5 million VFW and VFW Auxiliary members. Worldwide, the military service union includes 6,024 VFW Posts and 52 Departments.
The VFW offers membership benefits to eligible veterans of the Armed Forces and active-duty service members. Some benefits include:
- End-of-life services
- Financial services
- Insurance plans
- Medical services
- Mental wellness
- Post resources
- Publications for vets
- Retail discount programs
- Transition to civilian life
- Travel services
How Do You Celebrate National VFW Day?
To celebrate National VFW Day, you can help promote the organization’s message and further its work with local communities. Help a veteran you know or the family members of their fallen comrades. You can also donate to the VFW or assist them in supporting other military service programs.
With over six thousand posts, you may have a Post in your neighborhood in need of civilian support. If you’re a relative of someone who served overseas in the U.S. military, you could join a VFW Auxiliary chapter. There are over 3,600 chapters in the U.S. volunteering to improve the lives of veterans of the Armed Forces, those currently serving, and their families.
Other Ways to Support
You can also support veterans of foreign wars by considering the following ways to help:
- Buy snacks for your local VFW post
- Contribute to VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship”
- Host a “Buddy” Poppy drive to support vet rehabilitation services
- Tell a student going to college about the Mesothelioma Scholarship Initiative
How the VFW Helps Veterans Exposed to Asbestos & Other Chemicals Overseas
Overseas, veterans have at times been exposed to chemical dangers like Agent Orange and asbestos. Exposure to these toxins increases a person’s risk of long-term disease.
Fortunately, service-connected injuries and illnesses are generally covered by the VA. The VFW helps veterans exposed to asbestos and other chemicals overseas with filing their VA paperwork and/or appealing disability rating decisions. Through its Unmet Needs program, the VFW also provides grants up to $1,500 for basic life needs.