|Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)|
The Veterans of Foreign Wars is the world’s oldest (est. 1899) and largest overseas war veterans organization. The Congress of the United States charters states, “The purpose of this corporation shall be fraternal, patriotic, historical, and educational; to preserve and strengthen comradeship amongst its members; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate the memory and history of our dead and to assist their widows and orphans; to maintain allegiance to the Government of the United States and extend the institutions of American freedom and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies, whomsoever.” The Ladies Auxiliary was formed officially in 1914. The VFW and Auxiliary improve their cities, towns, and neighborhoods through community service.
The eight-pointed Maltese Cross is 1,000 years old. It was the emblem of the Knights of St. John, the world’s first great brotherhood of men who fought to free the oppressed and administer to the sick and needy. Members of the VFW selected the Cross of Malta as their emblem because, like the original Crusaders, they pledged themselves to defend human rights in time of peace and war. Upon the Cross is superimposed the Great Seal of the United States, encircled by the name, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. Within the circle is the American Eagle, the emblem of a proud nation whose warriors of many generations have fought and sacrificed to preserve the free man’s way of living. Between the four arms of the Cross, the Suns’ Rays emphasize the vigor and warmth that represents how the present day brotherhood defends its ideals. The Cross, rays, and seal together symbolize the vows, purpose, and character of men and women who have traveled far from home to defend humanity.
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