New VFW Charter Reflects Today's Military


WASHINGTON  — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is thanking the 113th Congress for their unanimous support this week to approve a change to the VFW’s congressional charter that was signed 78 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt when the military was comprised almost entirely of men.   

The update consists of two wording changes — replacing men with veterans, and widows with surviving spouses — and was supported by two companion bills, S. 2782 and H.R. 5441, which were introduced by Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and House VA Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), respectively.    

The change was prompted by VFW Resolution 301 that was passed in July by delegates attending the 115th VFW National Convention in St. Louis.

“We didn’t change our congressional charter to be politically correct,” said VFW National Commander John W. Stroud, “we changed it because being an eligible service member or veteran is what’s important to our great organization, not one’s gender, and changing widows to surviving spouses is more representative of today’s military. The VFW thanks the Senate and House VA Committee chairmen for their sponsorships, and Congress for their unanimous support.”   

The bill now heads to the president for his signature.