Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters
The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters memorial is located in Kansas City. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is a tribute to the sacrifices of men who fought in the Spanish-American War to Presidents Day and was formed by thirteen men during this time. These thirteen men saw the injustice of how veterans were treated after the war and created this association. This association began to grow and really brought about change during World War 1. According to Veterans of Foreign Wars (2018) during World War 1, service members brought attention towards the idea of insurance benefits and to ensure that veterans receive these benefits when they returned home from the wars. The mission of this organization is to bring veteran members together and strive for better assistance to veterans who return home from the wars. The injustice of that veterans once faced from not receiving benefits after returning from the war is now viewed as a symbolic reference to never let it happen again. The injustice that once took place and the service members are the primary reason why veterans receive insurance benefits today.
Backstory and Context
Men who fought in the Spanish American War were sent back home after being infested with diseases and seriously injured. While being forgotten by the country they were fighting for, a small group of veterans formed what is now known as the VFW to seek change. The change really began to take off during World War 1. According to Veterans of Foreign Wars (2018) during World War 1, women sent care packages overseas and service members helped ensure that veterans received insurance benefits after the war. The Veterans Service Office which was established in Washington D.C in 1919 and made the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization a permanent location. This memorial site has a strong community behind it which allows U.S citizens who are currently serving or served to become a part of the organization. According to Veterans of Foreign Wars (2019) VFW members of the community volunteer 9 million hours to community service projects annually, with volunteerism benefiting morale, education, the environment, health sciences and civic projects. In honor of American veterans, the VFW also hosts public commemorations on patriotic days. To offer support in funding assistance, they offer grants that range from $1,000 to $15,000. These grants are awarded to those who are currently serving in the military and their families. While the mission has slowly dissipated over the past couple of years, the organization has tried to reinforce its goals. The mission is to make sure that lawmakers give veterans the assistance, programs and resources they deserve. Things such as better healthcare, improve benefits, and bring awareness to mental health. They are trying to enforce a bill that allows veteran women who have a baby in the hospital to receive up to 42 days of childcare in the hospital as opposed to 7. “When I joined the VFW, there were 1900 women and I think we’re up to 9000. Right now, we’re pushing a bill for women who have trauma, who have a baby in a VA hospital. They only gave you seven days where you would get childcare. We’re pushing for 42. that wasn’t even on the radar when I came in," said Perry” (Mims, 2018). The Veterans of Foreign Wars mission is to continue to provide assistance to veterans who return from the wars and strive for better benefits. The Veterans of Foreign Wars National Headquarters memorial stands for more than just a memorial site. It is a way to remember the injustice that lead to the reason why our soldiers are receiving benefits today. The thirteen veteran men that saw this injustice and took it upon themselves to bring change have not only created a memorial site, but a community that stands behind the memorial site to ensure that veterans receive the benefits they need after coming home from the war.
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