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Veterans' Organizations vs. Fraternal Organizations


KevinBeyer
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KevinBeyer

The focus of this Forum is the study and discussion of Veterans' Organizations.  This post is an attempt to describe what the USMF considers an appropriate organization and what is outside the scope of this forum.

 

Some organizations are hereditary where a person's membership is allowed due to an ancestor who was in uniform, but that member need not necessarily have served.  An example would be either the Sons of Union Veterans or the Daughters of Union Veterans.  Are these considered to be part of US Militaria?  The answer is 'yes'.  Membership in these organizations requires "documented proof that their ancestor was a soldier or sailor of the U. S. Army, Navy, or Marine Corps and Revenue Cutter Service who served between April 12, 1861 and April 9, 1865 in the war for the suppression of the Rebellion,..."  Thus making a connection to military service through hereditary means.

 

There are organizations whose membership requirements necessitate individual service like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, or The American Legion.  The membership criterion for the VFW requires U.S. citizenship, or be a U.S. National, must have served in the Armed Forces of the United States and either received a discharge of Honorable or General (Under Honorable Conditions) or be currently serving, and performed service in a war, campaign, or expedition on foreign soil or in hostile waters.  These requirements clearly indicate military service, and by association, their auxiliaries are included as well.

 

Alongside Veterans' Organizations, there are Fraternal Organizations.  Fraternal Organizations were/are networks for members in the form of a social club or membership organization formed around a common bond, ideology, or personal background.  They may have the trappings of US Militaria by having uniforms, insignia, swords, etc., but have no military connection at all, like, for example, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.  Membership in the IOOF requires, "Any person of good character, of any race, gender, nationality and social status, who is loyal to their country and believes in a Supreme Being, is eligible for membership."  The foundation of this organization is not based upon a direct connection to military service.

 

If there is no direct, or hereditary, connection to the US Military, or its Revolutionary precursors, in the constitution and by-laws of the organization, then discussion on the US Militaria Forum is not allowed.  It is not that these organizations aren't worth discussing, rather this is not the appropriate forum to do so.

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