From Ohio History Central
In 1899, some veterans from the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection met in Columbus, Ohio, and formed the American Veterans of Foreign Service. This organization united several other veteran groups to create the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1913. The American Veterans of Foreign Service was the first national organization within the United States to represent veterans of all foreign wars.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars represents the needs and desires of all United States veterans that participated in armed conflicts overseas. As of 2004, the organization had more than 1.9 million members. The Veterans of Foreign Wars had members from every major conflict from World War II to the Iraqi Conflict. It serves as the voice of veterans before the United States government and before the American people. The organization lobbies federal and state governments to provide additional benefits to veterans. It also helps veterans complete the paperwork necessary for them to receive benefits. In addition to these activities, the Veterans of Foreign Wars attempts to promote patriotism within the United States. It also engages in community service activities and even operates the VFW National Home to provide assistance to homeless, disabled, or financially unstable veterans and their families.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars also has a Ladies Auxiliary that has lobbied various levels government for increased veteran benefits. The Ladies Auxiliary played an important role in securing passage of the G.I. Bill during World War II. It also has raised millions of dollars to assist veterans and various veteran-related causes.