The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service.
Some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania and the movement gained momentum. By 1936, membership was almost 200,000.
VFW's voice has been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill, development of the national cemetery system and the fight for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome.
The VFW has fought for improving VA medical center services for women veterans.
VFW has helped in the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials.VFW in 2005 became the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which is being constructed in Washington, D.C. Annually, VFW members and its Auxiliary contribute more than 13 million volunteer hours to the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.