Author Topic: What's happening with/to the VFW?  (Read 324 times)

Hawkmoon

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What's happening with/to the VFW?
« on: March 24, 2024, 05:19:47 PM »
I have been a VFW life member for many years, but I am once again wondering what's going on with the organization.

When I joined (several decades ago) there was a post in my town. Also several decades ago now, the post in my town went out of existence and we were all assigned to the VFW post in the neighboring town to the north (which, curiously, was and is a smaller town than my town). Then, a few years later, THAT post folded its tent, and we were assigned to the post in the town to the west of that town -- a town where I knew nobody and to which had no connection. At that point, I gave up being a post member and switched my membership to at-large status.

Nonetheless I still receive meeting notices and other e-mails from the last post I was assigned to. And I just received an e-mail informing me that THAT post is now going out of existence, and merging with a post in the city to the north of their location. Which means that the post to which I would be assigned if I hadn't changed to at-large status would now be three towns and 15 miles removed from me.

I don't get it. I thought many younger veterans were joining the VFW when they leave the service. Is that not correct? Is the VFW dying out?
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dogmush

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2024, 06:42:39 PM »
I
I don't get it. I thought many younger veterans were joining the VFW when they leave the service. Is that not correct? Is the VFW dying out?

I think it is dying out, yes.

I am one of the very few vets of my generation that I know that has joined the VFW, and honestly, I can't be assed to do anything at the post.

I think most GWOT vets see the VFW as a dive bar old guys hang out at

Ben

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2024, 08:02:34 PM »
I'm not someone who can give an opinion, but the old guy that I goose hunt with loves going to the VFW but is also always complaining to me that all his drinking buddies there are dropping like flies because it's almost all Vietnam guys, like him.

Is there anything to do at a a VFW Hall besides drink? Besides how they're portrayed on the teevee and what Dogmush said, and the fact that the old guy is kind of an alchy, I always just assumed they were mostly used as a bar for vets. Though the one the old guy goes to apparently has a decent military lending library.
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zxcvbob

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2024, 08:47:48 PM »
I don't know if this is relevant or not, but one of the charities I support is the VFW National Home.  https://vfwnationalhome.org/  The most visible part of VFW's mission might be dive bars for old farts and honor guards for military funerals when those old farts die of cirrhosis (or Parkinson's from the Agent Orange), but they do more than that behind the scenes.

Disclaimer: I never served, but my dad was a Korea vet, and my father in law was a vet from WW2, Korea, and Vietnam (he must have been a young pup that entered WW2 right at the end)  FIL is why I started sending money to the VFW.
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BobR

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2024, 08:48:57 PM »
While I am a member of the VFW here I don't go. I don't go into places where the indoor air is polluted worse then the air in Beijing.  Our Post seems to be doing well, we are a small town with a lot of Vets, they also have to allow non-members in the door because we have gaming machines. They have events weekly, Taco Tuesday, Karaoke, etc. There is an active VFW Riders group that has brought in a few younger Vets but for the most part they shy away, much like they treat the VA for medical. I believe VFW posts are going the way of the dodo. It's a shame but like Ben said, it is perceived as a place where the old guys sit around and smoke and drink. That is not how you bring in the younger generation. I have also heard stories of the very snobbish behavior inside the wall, WW2 vets looked down on VN Vets, VN Vets on PG1 Vets, PG1 Vets on GWOT Vets and so on. I have not seen it, just heard of it from other places I have been. It does not seem to be an issue here.

bob

eta:

We did get a make over from the Bar Rescue guy. He does VFW posts on a regular basis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRi2vJ0gFvs

zahc

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2024, 09:21:28 PM »
I don't know about the VFW but it doesn't surprise me to see it weakening. It seems to be all social organizations across the board. With each generation, the role gets weaker and the demographics get older for societies like the boy scouts. The churches have been seeing this happen for a long time as well, but I don't think it's people becoming specifically less spiritual, but just following the same trend of social disintegration.

I have a few theories for as to why and most of them are "government policy"
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MechAg94

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2024, 09:29:56 PM »
I think it is dying out, yes.

I am one of the very few vets of my generation that I know that has joined the VFW, and honestly, I can't be assed to do anything at the post.

I think most GWOT vets see the VFW as a dive bar old guys hang out at
I was sort of wondering about that.  It seemed to me like something that might help guys with issues from their overseas service.  Seemed like it was always older vets I saw there.
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Boomhauer

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2024, 05:48:15 AM »
Not a vet but I bet time is a huge factor for it as well.

I work a busy job where while I don’t usually have to work long hours I do have to travel in-state a lot and I fly out for training some as well. When I’m at home not working I prefer to spend my time with my wife and dogs. We also do quite a bit of family events as well. I have little to no time for social organizations nor do I care to socialize much anyway.

I think a lot of boomer era social organizations are in the same boat as well. Don’t know anybody my age or younger who is a member of the Masons, Moose Lodge, etc. plus I don’t care to pay dues to any organization either.

And finally for the VFW and similar organizations who are heavily bar focused I’ve got zero use for a bar of just about any kind.



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MechAg94

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2024, 09:06:54 AM »
Do y'all think more families with two working spouses has any bearing on it? 
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Jim147

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2024, 01:26:01 PM »
My dad has been a member for over fifty years. He's one of the oldest at his place and says it's rare to get anyone under sixty to join. They have a pretty good size group of people and do a lot for the people of the town. They feed a ton of people during the year and do fundraising for the scouts and Civil Air Patrol.

In my town the building is now used as the community center and the very few members go to the town 15 miles east. There are so few of them I think they have to call for help to put together an honor guard.

Younger people just are not joining.
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HankB

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2024, 06:48:18 PM »
My Dad - a WWII vet - was a VFW member for a while in Chicago.  When I was little I remember him getting mailings from a local VFW/American Legion post, but remember him saying he basically quit because he didn't feel like going there just to drink beer - he could drink better stuff for less money at home. The post had a lot of members of Lithuanian descent. I think the post basically just faded away due to lack of interest and new members.

When I lived in Minnesota my trap & skeet club had their annual banquet at a local VFW lodge - my impression was that it was a well managed and well run banquet hall, with very little veterans' emphasis.

One colleague at work had no use for the VFW since while they were more than willing to take his money for dues, he could NOT be a full member since though he was a veteran who served honorably. Why? He was in the peacetime military after Vietnam ended, so he wasn't a veteran of a FOREIGN WAR.
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BobR

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2024, 07:25:27 PM »
My Dad - a WWII vet - was a VFW member for a while in Chicago.  When I was little I remember him getting mailings from a local VFW/American Legion post, but remember him saying he basically quit because he didn't feel like going there just to drink beer - he could drink better stuff for less money at home. The post had a lot of members of Lithuanian descent. I think the post basically just faded away due to lack of interest and new members.

When I lived in Minnesota my trap & skeet club had their annual banquet at a local VFW lodge - my impression was that it was a well managed and well run banquet hall, with very little veterans' emphasis.

One colleague at work had no use for the VFW since while they were more than willing to take his money for dues, he could NOT be a full member since though he was a veteran who served honorably. Why? He was in the peacetime military after Vietnam ended, so he wasn't a veteran of a FOREIGN WAR.

That is where the American Legion comes in, plus there are also probably service specific groups, I know the Navy has the Fleet Reserve Association and other branches probably have their own also.

bob

Hawkmoon

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2024, 09:49:09 PM »
One colleague at work had no use for the VFW since while they were more than willing to take his money for dues, he could NOT be a full member since though he was a veteran who served honorably. Why? He was in the peacetime military after Vietnam ended, so he wasn't a veteran of a FOREIGN WAR.

I'm sorry for your colleague's disappointment, but why would he expect the Veterans of FOREIGN Wars to confer full membership on someone who didn't serve in a FOREIGN war? I think his displeasure is misplaced. There are a great many organizations that accept as associate members people who interests are akin to those of the organization but who simply don't qualify for full membership.
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HankB

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2024, 10:55:50 PM »
I'm sorry for your colleague's disappointment, but why would he expect the Veterans of FOREIGN Wars to confer full membership on someone who didn't serve in a FOREIGN war? I think his displeasure is misplaced. There are a great many organizations that accept as associate members people who interests are akin to those of the organization but who simply don't qualify for full membership.
He said it's because FOREIGNERS were too scared of a military with HIM in it to start a war with us.  :rofl:

Seriously, I haven't seen him in a long time but I doubt it was that big a big deal for him - it just irked him that they wanted his money for nothing.
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Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it. - Mark Twain

T.O.M.

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2024, 08:18:14 PM »
Not a member.  My service doesn't qualify me for membership.  But, our local VFW sponsored our Boy Scout Troop, so I spent a lot of time there, and interacted with a lot of the members.

Gotta say that the older (Viet Nam) members were absolute aholes to a lot of the GWOT vets who joined.  No internet in the bar.  No modern music in the juke box.  Snide remarks about how easy they had it with coffee shops and such at their bases.  Not real welcoming to women vets.  No activities that appealed to vets under 40.  And, they shot down any suggestions to make the bar more appealing to the younger vets.

If that is any indication of the organization beyond this post, it's no wonder the VFW is fading away.
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Tuco

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2024, 09:22:31 PM »
I recall hearing similar reports in the 1990s about how the Korea and WW2 vets at the the local VFW treated the guys who served in Vietnam.
One In particular just rolled on down the street and got drunk at the American Legion instead.
...
Gotta say that the older (Viet Nam) members were absolute aholes to a lot of the GWOT vets who joined.  No internet in the bar.  No modern music in the juke box.  Snide remarks about how easy they had it with coffee shops and such at their bases.  Not real welcoming to women vets.  No activities that appealed to vets under 40.  And, they shot down any suggestions to make the bar more appealing to the younger vets.

If that is any indication of the organization beyond this post, it's no wonder the VFW is fading away.
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French G.

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #16 on: March 27, 2024, 09:43:20 PM »
I paid dues for a year to one in the town where I work. Never made a meeting. Thinking about calling the closest post 9666, probably one of the smallest in the country. Maybe I can keep it going. I can walk to a volunteer  fire company and a Ruritan club, member of neither, been so busy.
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dogmush

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Re: What's happening with/to the VFW?
« Reply #17 on: March 28, 2024, 08:28:02 AM »
I will add that the guys at my post seem pretty cool honestly.  Every time I've been there they've been fine, they host a christmas party for my reserve unit every year, with food and toys for the kids, and their emails tell the tale of plenty of charitable events and helping out the town.

They are just like a 50 min drive from my house, in a direction I rarely travel, and between work, overlanding, shooting, and hiking with the pups and Mrs. Mush I never have time to do anything there. 

My lack of involvement is me, not them.