AMVETS or American Veterans is a volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans which accepts honorably discharged veterans as members. AMVETS is one of the most respected volunteer-led organizations in the country that provides, not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for this nation’s citizens.
AMVETS MISSION STATEMENT: To enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services.
AMVETS was truly born in the midst of war. for it was in August 1943, with victory still two years away, that a new organization, later to be known as American Veterans of World War II, had its beginning. Hundreds of men were being mustered out of uniform with battle wounds and medical discharges. They were united by similar experiences…Thus out of such comradeship, AMVETS came to be.
Two independent veterans clubs in Washington, D.C. – one formed on the campus of George Washington University, the other among veterans employed by the government – joined together to sponsor a servicemen’s party. By September 1944, other such veterans clubs organized throughout America. On November 11, 1944, Veteran’s Day, an article entitled “12,000,000 in Search of a Leader” appeared in Collier’s Magazine. This story, written by Walter Davenport, introduced the clubs and outlined their mutual aims: 1) To promote world peace; 2) To preserve the American Way of Life, and 3) To help the veteran help himself. In December, 18 leaders, representing nine groups, met in Kansas City, Missouri. There a national organization formed, and it was on December 9, 1944 the name “American Veterans of World War II” was chosen. The word AMVETS coined by a newspaper reporter, soon become the official name. The “White Clover”, a flower which thrives in freedom throughout the world, is symbolic of the struggle during World War II and is the adopted flower of AMVETS.
In 1946, AMVETS petitioned congress for a federal charter. AMVETS, having displayed dignity and sound approach to National problems, won the deep respect of Congress, and on July 23, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed the AMVETS charter. During the administrations of President Lyndon B. Johnson and President Ronald Reagan, the AMVETS Congressional Charter was amended to redefined the credibility date for AMVETS membership to include those men and women who serviced actively and honorable from September 16, 1940 to the present time. AMVETS is now the only Congressionally chartered veterans organization that honors and recognized the sacrifices of peacetime veteran and servicepersons by extending membership eligibility to them.
PREAMBLE TO AMVETS CONSTITUTION
We, the American Veterans who have service or are serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, and since World War II, fully realizing our responsibility to our community, to our state and to our nation, associate ourselves for the following purpose: to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States to safeguard the principles of freedom, liberty and justice for all; to promote the cause of peace and goodwill among nations; to maintain inviolate the freedom of our Country to preserve the fundamentals of democracy; to perpetuate the friendship and association of these veteran; and, to dedicate ourselves to the causes of mutual assistance, this by the grace of God.
The cornerstone of AMVETS membership is the local post. Varying in size from 10 members to more than 2,000 in some cases, each AMVETS post conducts programs and activities related to the state and national organization’s goals and objectives. Membership, though, is not limited to joining the AMVETS post in your hometown. In fact, there may not be a post there or you may not live close to one. In such cases, an individual may elect to become a member-at-large. We also offer two membership categories, annual and life, each with its own dues structure. If you are not a veteran but have a family member that is, you can join one of our groups.
To be eligible for membership in AMVETS, you must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, anytime after Sept. 15, 1940. Additionally, unless still serving, your discharge must have been under honorable conditions. If you served as an American citizen in the armed forces of an allied nation, under honorable conditions, between Sept. 15, 1940 and May 8, 1975, you are also eligible, as are wartime member of the Merchant Marine. Proof of eligibility can take the form of a DD-214, an honorable discharge certificate or other appropriate document.