Native Americans Have Always Answered the Call to Serve: National VFW Day 2020
September 30, 2020
Native American veterans of the Vietnam War stand in honor as part of the color guard at the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial. November 11, 1990, Washington, D.C. (Photo by Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
National Veterans of Foreign Wars Day, September 29, acknowledges men and women who have served honorably in a foreign war or overseas operation recognized by a campaign medal, received hostile fire, or qualified for imminent danger pay. Active-duty servicemembers who meet the criteria are also welcome. Members today include veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, the Balkans, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and other expeditionary campaigns, as well as those who have served during occupations. Family members of eligible servicemen and women show their support through the VFW Auxiliary.
The organization's history dates to 1899, when the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines were organized to secure rights and benefits for veterans of the Spanish–American War (1898) and Philippine–American War (1899–1902). The two organizations merged in 1914, creating the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. The VFW was chartered by Congress in 1936.
The VFW defines its role in its mission and vision statements: