Young WWII veterans returning from the war provided the impetus for forming AMVETS. The established veterans groups, like the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, were regarded as stale and rigid, not really in tune with the interests and needs of this new generation of veterans. As the number of returnees swelled into the millions, it was evident that some sort of new veterans national organization would materialize. A few loosely organized veterans clubs were formed at colleges and universities initially; then the movement mushroomed into more than seventy-five separate groups scattered across thirty states.
The leaders of this new generation of veterans wanted their own organization. One of the groups, a club formed by veterans attending George Washington University and those employed by the federal government, took the lead. The American Veterans of World War II, Inc., as the organizers called themselves, began contacting other groups around the country. Each group was invited to send two delegates to a conference in Kansas City, MO., “to discuss the federation of the existing veterans groups which had formed out of WWII.” Eighteen of them, representing nine veterans clubs, met in Kansas City, Mo., and founded The American Veterans of World War II on Dec. 10, 1944.
Less than three years later, on July 23, 1947, President Harry S. Truman signed Public Law 216, making AMVETS the first World War II organization to be chartered by Congress. Since then, the original charter has been amended several times to admit as members those who served in different eras. On 16 October 2002 the 107th Congress enacted Public Law 107-241 (H.R. 3214), an Act to amend the Charter of the AMVETS organization to “AMVETS (American Veterans)”. Today, membership in AMVETS is open to anyone who is currently serving, or who has honorably served, in the U.S. Armed Forces from World War II to the present, to include the National Guard and Reserves.
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With roots in World War II, Amvets was congressionally chartered by President Truman. Expanded membership includes honorable service in any uniformed element of the U.S. Armed Forces since World War II.
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- Congressional service
- And much more!
The Memorial Carillons is a living memorial dedicated to fallen veterans. President Truman dedicated the first Carillon at Arlington National Cemetery. There are currently more than 70 Cariilon sites worldwide.
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