Dear Editor: The VFW traces its roots back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure earned rights and benefits for their service. Many arrived home wounded or sick, and there were no medical care or veterans' pensions available to them and they were simply left to care for themselves.
Some of these veterans formed organizations which would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, expanding to 200,000 members by 1936. Eventually, the VFW established branches (called Posts) in each of the states and has its national headquarters in Kansas City, Mo. Its current national membership numbers 2.1 million and includes both men and women who have participated in foreign wars (a fact often overlooked).
The VFW has a mission, a vision, and core values. The mission is "To foster camaraderie among U.S. veterans of overseas conflicts. To serve our veterans, the military, and our communities, and to advocate on behalf of all veterans." The vision is to "Ensure that veterans are respected for their service, always receive their earned entitlements, and are recognized for their sacrifices they and their loved ones have made on behalf of this great country." Core values are to always put the interests of our members first, treat donors as partners in our cause, promote patriotism, honor military service, ensure the care of veterans and their families, serve our communities and promote a positive image of the VFW.
The Conyers VFW Post 5290 was chartered Feb. 6, 1946. Most of its current members served in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and just a few remain who served in World War II. Since the middle east conflicts, beginning in the 1990s, the numbers of U.S. veterans has increased significantly. The question is how many of these veterans living in the Rockdale and Newton County areas are aware there is a VFW post nearby?
The Conyers VFW is always reaching out to find these younger veterans and encouraging them to join when they discover this organization is here for them and their families. The strength and health of the VFW, both nationally and locally, depends upon the growth of its numbers and active participation by each member. Membership dues are paid either on an annual basis ($30) or ‘life membership fee,' depending upon age at the time of application.
The Conyers VFW is located at 1432 VFW Dr., just off Dogwood Drive and just west of West Ave. There are usually several members at the Post on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. and from noon until 9 p.m. on Saturdays who can provide additional information or assistance. Telephone (770) 483-7443. There is also a Facebook Page available online.