Nine Decades and Moving Forward
March 1, 2010
In the midst of a just and worthy cause, it’s easy to take for granted what we have earned as a community. In 1920, there was no Department of Veterans Affairs to love or hate. The veterans who’d been gassed, gashed and bombarded in the trenches of Europe in World War I returned home to a nation that – after victory – didn’t feel an obligation for those who’d served and sacrificed.
With no centralized system of medical care and government benefits and a generation in need of advocacy and unity, the Disabled American Veterans of the World War was founded 90 years ago. The cause they began is as relevant for the men and women leaving the mountains and deserts of Iraq and Afghanistan today as it was for our founding veterans.
The legacy we’ve inherited and the infrastructure we’ve developed over the last century positions us as the premier service organization and foremost authority on the issues unique to our exclusive community. As experienced mentors, our focus must remain on the evolution we must continually make to meet the needs of our changing demographics.
The DAVWW had to change to become the DAV, and it has continually adapted to changing times and needs to become the organization it is today. As we celebrate an important milestone anniversary this year, we must focus on the coming decade that will bring us to the century mark.
While we have enjoyed remarkable successes in recent history, our nation as a whole faces an uncertain future. The way we do business is changing – and it must change for us to remain as relevant for the next generation as the DAV was when we joined the cause.
We must focus on efficiencies. We have to always look for ways to make the best use of our resources and honor the investment our donors have made in our noble mission. We need to embrace technologies that improve our outreach and the services we offer. We must work smarter and push harder to educate the public about what we do and to motivate, inspire and develop the future leaders in our ranks.
It is critical, as we have seen generations pass the baton and great leaders pass on, that we look forward and identify and mentor young men and women who will be our future commanders and adjutants. We must harness their ideas and give them an outlet for their passion for our cause.
Thank you all for your contributions that have made 90 years of premiere service and advocacy possible. Together this decade we will lay the foundations to prepare the DAV for a new century of achievement and hope for all our nation’s disabled veterans and their families.