VFW History Brief
The Veterans of Foreign Wars was established by James C. Putnam on September 29, 1899, in Columbus, Ohio.The organization's membership consists of veterans who, as soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, and coast guardsmen served the United States in wars, campaigns, and expeditions on foreign soil or in hostile waters.
The VFW resulted from the amalgamation of several societies formed immediately following the Spanish–American War. In 1899, little groups of veterans returning from campaigning in Cuba and the Philippine Islands, founded local societies upon a spirit of comradeship known only to those who faced the dangers of that war side by side. Similar experiences and a common language drew them together.The American Veterans of Foreign Service (predecessor to the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States) was established in Columbus, Ohio, September 29, 1899, by Spanish‑American War veteran James C. Putnam.The Colorado Society, Army of the Philippines, was organized in Denver, Colorado, on December 12, 1899. Shortly thereafter, a society known as the Foreign Service Veterans was born in Pennsylvania. These three veterans' organizations grew up side by side, increasing in scope and membership until August 1913, when at an encampment held at Denver, they merged their interests and identities in a national organization now known as the VFW.
The VFW Great Seal
The Cross of Malta is the VFW's official emblem. The cross, radiating rays, and Great Seal of the United States together symbolize the character, vows and purposes distinguishing VFW as an order of warriors who have traveled far from home to defend sacred principles.
Its eight points represent the beatitudes prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, the pure, the merciful, the peacemakers; blessed are they who mourn, seek righteousness and are persecuted for righteousness' sake.
The eight-pointed Cross of Malta harks back to the Crusades, launched during the 12th century.