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Marking a century of service.

A century ago when more than 200,000 veterans wounded in World War I came home, our nation gasped at the horror of injuries caused by a mechanized and chemical brand of warfare that was unlike anything militaries had seen before.

The battlefield advancements created a brutal reality: These veterans would require a lifetime of care. However, our government was not prepared, and the men who had been hailed as heroes were soon falling through the cracks. There was no single government agency like today's Department of Veterans Affairs, and no government department was fully responsible for the well-being of veterans forever changed in service.

In 1920, the Disabled American Veterans of the World War (now DAV--Disabled American Veterans) was founded by Robert S. Marx, of Cincinnati, who summed up the need for DAV by saying, "We had a common experience which bound us together, and we are out to continue through an organization of our own ... an organization of us, by us and for us." "The idea that we as veterans must stick up for one another and remind our nation of the sacrifices made in service and the promises made to our defenders inspired our forebears to create this unique community," said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. "Throughout the years, warfare has changed, the size and scope of our military have evolved, and the global presence continues to shift. But our commitment to our nation's heroes has never wavered."

DAV is gearing up to celebrate its centennial at the organization's 99th national convention Aug. 1-4, 2020, at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas.

"Convention is our way to jump-start the celebration with as many of our members as possible," said National Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski. "DAV is positioned to be a positive and influential advocate for veterans and their families for another 100 years because of our more than 1 million members. We hope as our leaders and volunteers mark this milestone that it's a reminder to them of the sacred legacy we're carrying forward."

To help mark the occasion, DAV is also planning a three-day celebration beginning Sept. 23, 2020, in its founding city. DAV members nationwide are welcomed to come to Cincinnati and be a part of the festivities.

"A centennial celebration will be held at the Cincinnati Music Hall, where DAV will be treated to a concert performed by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra," Jesinoski said. "There will also be a golf tournament to benefit DAV. We'll wrap up the festivities with a DAV Transportation Network and Ford vehicle drive-away to Washington Park, across from Memorial Hall where DAV was founded."

DAV members should stay tuned for more information, and in the coming months there will be tools and resources made available for DAV chapters and departments to celebrate this landmark occasion in their local communities.

By Bryan Lett

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Author:Lett, Bryan
Publication:DAV Magazine
Date:Nov 1, 2019
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