Daily readings about people, places, and events in American history.
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August 23rd
The Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is the nation’s oldest major veterans organization and one of the country’s great patriotic institutions. It traces its roots to 1899, when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899–1902) began founding organizations to help sick and wounded comrades. In August 1913, at a meeting in Denver, the groups combined to become the VFW.

VFW membership is open to men and women, either on active duty or honorably discharged, who have fought in a foreign military campaign. The VFW and its Auxiliaries (organizations made up of spouses and relatives of veterans) include 2.2 million members in 8,100 posts worldwide. The headquarters are in Kansas City, Missouri.

The VFW’s mission is to “honor the dead by helping the living.” Its work includes providing a voice for veterans, assisting needy veterans and their families, developing friendships among members, honoring deceased veterans, and supporting troops overseas.

VFW and Auxiliary members donate millions of volunteer hours in community service, from working in blood drives to funding college scholarships. They also promote citizenship, patriotism, and interest in American history with school programs, essay contests, and education about the American flag. The character of the VFW is set forth in its charter, granted by Congress, which states that the organization’s purpose is to “extend the institutions of American freedom and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies, whomsoever.”

American History Parade
1775
King George III proclaims the American colonies to be in a state of rebellion.

1784
Part of North Carolina declares itself the State of Franklin, which is denied admission to the Union (the area is now part of eastern Tennessee).

1859
The six-story Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City becomes the first American hotel with an elevator.

1889
A lightship off San Francisco sends the first ship-to-shore wireless message received in the United States, signaling the arrival of an Army troopship.

1966
Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photo of Earth from the moon.
This content is courtesy of The American Patriot's Almanac
© 2008, 2010 by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb
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