Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What the VFW Does and How It Benefits Veterans, the Community and the Country

This is a co-written article between WOTN Editor & myself.

Why would anyone join the Veterans of Foreign War?  Well, not just anyone can.  Not even just any Veteran can.  A prospective member must have served honorably in a combat zone that earned them one of several qualifying campaign medals.  The most recent are: the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the Global War On Terror Expeditionary Medal.  (Service in Kosovo, Korea, Somalia, and Bosnia are also qualifying service, though I don't know the medal names.)
Those that earned the National Defense Service Medal, but not a medal qualifying them for membership at the VFW are qualified for the American Legion.  Both organizations are honorable and a place to gather with fellow Veterans, Brothers, like those we served with in the Military.  Both have auxiliaries for family members of Veterans.  The Legion led the way with Sons of the Legion and the VFW recently added the Men's Auxiliary.  Both have a Ladies Auxiliary, which does a lot of the heavy lifting in Troop Support and general organizing.
The companionship of fellow Warriors is but one facet of the VFW, albeit an important one.  Thor, a Post Quartermaster, and the WOTN Editor, a life member, have set about to give some of the reasons why a Combat Veteran would want to join, and why Our Posts are so important to Veterans, Troops, and Our Communities.  Each Post is unique, with its own personality, as rich and storied as the buildings themselves.  To Find a Post near you or where you are going.  (Most Posts don't have a website.)
Nashville has two posts (1291 & 1970), one structure is younger than the War On Terror and the other older than the hills.  Both have been at their current locations for many decades.  Each has hundreds of members, but the newer building attracts more younger Veterans while the other has a more cozy atmosphere.  Technically, there's a 3rd Post in Nashville which doesn't have a building or location.  During the recent deployment of the Tennessee National Guard, the Tennessee VFW's adopted units of the Guard.  I'll let Thor take it from here:
These are a few of the things that the VFW, on the whole, does:
National Military Services (VFW Support)
The VFW provides numerous services to military service members and their families.
The three main efforts of the VFW Military Services department are:
the Military Assistance Program (MAP), Operation Uplink, and Unmet Needs.
These are programs that Officers and NCO's in the Military need to know about.  In times of need, they can help young Soldiers get by.  Captains and Sergeants Major should consider the potential for welcoming home their Troops with the Veterans that likely taught them as Privates.

Each program has a focus of support:
MAP has helped fund Farewell and Welcome Home gatherings for military units worldwide.
Operation Uplink provides free, pre-paid phone cards to service members.
Unmet Needs can give a one-time grant up to $2,500 for qualifying service members and their families experiencing financial hardship.

Flag EducationOn June 14, 1777, the Marine Committee of the Continental Congress adopted a resolution that gave birth to our national flag. The resolution read:

"Resolved that the flag of the United States be made of 13 stripes, alternate red and white, that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation."
Flags and flag education are important elements of the VFW's Citizenship Education program. In fact, flags are the most commonly requested items from the VFW's Emblem and Supply Department, which sells more than 250,000 flags each year.

The VFW publishes a flag booklet, "Ten Short Flag Stories," which you can request by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Citizenship Education Department, Veterans of Foreign Wars, 406 West 34th Street, Kansas City, Missouri, 64111. Quantities can be purchased through VFW Emblem and Supply

Patriotic Days
Fostering patriotism and honoring America's veterans, whether it is Independence Day or Veterans Day, is part of the VFW's philosophical core. Public commemorations hosted by VFW Posts worldwide cultivate an appreciation of both the responsibilities and benefits of being an American.

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