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, and they were left to care for themselves.
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In their misery, some veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters had been 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. 

Since then, the VFW's voice has been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, will for the 20th century, the development of the national cemetery system, creating a GI bill 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 by passing a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty service members and Guard and Reserves members fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The VFW has also fought to improve VA medical center services for women veterans.

As a testament to its unwavering commitment to honoring and supporting veterans, the VFW played a significant role in creating the Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial. This memorial, which opened in November 2010, stands as a symbol of our gratitude and respect for made by our veteran's sacrifices.

Each year, the VFW and its Auxiliaries, comprising nearly 2 million members, dedicate a staggering 8.6 million hours to volunteerism in the community. This active involvement, including participation in events like Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week, underscores the VFW's commitment to making a positive impact in the lives of others. 

The VFW is there, from providing over $3 million in warships and savings bonds to students every year to encouraging the elevation of the Department of Veterans Affairs in college schools to the president's cabinet.