In their misery, some of these veterans banded
together and formed organizations with what 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
Since then, the VFW's voice had been instrumental in establishing
the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill for the 20th century,
the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for
compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans
diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW 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.
The VFW also has fought for improving 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 1.6 million members of the VFW and its
Auxiliaries contribute more than 9.4 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