I asked a young man the other day what the VFW was. At first he thought it was a car, then realized he was wrong, he said, it was the place where old guys go to eat dinner. It’s sad to think that our future leaders might not even know who the Veterans of Foreign Wars are, particularly when they are the reason that we haven’t had war here in the states since 1812 (aside from the Civil War but that was a civil affair).
These brave men and women meet the enemy on soil away from America to keep them from coming to America. Oh, and they aren’t all old!
Formed by the Veterans of the Spanish-American War/Philippine War on September 29th, 1899, the VFW has been a part of America ever since. Their charge is to promote patriotism, create good will, and provide youth scholarships. They provide support for military service, community service, and promote youth activities.
They share a common bond, having served their country, by going somewhere they didn’t want to go, and doing a job they didn’t want to do. Now they come back home and do what they can to make others lives better for the country they already gave to. That’s a pretty honorable group if you ask me. They already gave, and now they give even more. And the rest of us seem to forget who they are, and what they have done.
There was a movie not long ago called, “A Band Of Brothers”, it was about men who served in World War 2. When the War was over, I can only imagine, when they came home they did not simply forget each other. When many of the Vietnam Vets came back they were met with cruelty and disgrace. That shame belongs to all of us… they were just doing their job. And yet forget about how we treated them, they came back here and have helped our youth, provided support for other veterans, and aided in rebuilding communities. How much of that have you done?
It’s time we honored them, more than just one day, but if that’s all you can offer, at least offer the best you can on them, they have already done so for you. Their motto is, “To honor the dead by helping the living.”
How to celebrate – See what you can do for one of your local VFW’s. Thank any soldier you see for their service. Remember those who gave everything so you could live everything.