At the time it was founded, this organization filled a vital need, the need for a coordinated, united effort by all veterans to aid the soldiers and sailors coming home from the wars to readjust themselves to civilian life. It still fills that need.....and many more.
One of the first recorded Service organizations came into being as far back as 1841, "to alleviate suffering and need among returned soldiers and sailors." Later veterans' organizations of every kind and description were formed in various communities, none having connection with any of the others. During this period were born "The General Society of the War of 1812," " The Grand Army of the Republic," 'The Order of Indian Wars," and others, all with the same general purpose. However, they linited their membership, each to a certain group, and excluded all others. In this process, a very large number of ex-servicemen were left unable to join any of them and enjoy their benefits.
In 1886, men of vision realized that these exclusive organizations would become extinct at the death of their members, and that their work in behalf of Veterans and for the good of the Nation would then come to an end. They advanced the idea of a PERMANENT National Organization for ALL Veterans. Under the leadership of Peter Lacher, Louis Renkert and George Russell Downs, they founded an organization open to ALL who had served honorably in the armed forces or who were still in uniform to "Promote loyalty to the country, assemble comrades in order to perpetuate a spirit of fraternity, present social affairs, and befriend ex-servicemen and woman who might need help in securing employment, in caring for the sick, and in burying their dead. This organization is known as: