The Woodstock VFW Post 5040 is a non-profit organization serving veterans and promoting
Americanism in the community in which we live. The history of Veterans of Foreign Wars
Post 5040, Woodstock, Illinois, dates back to 1945. In that year, World War II veterans
began work leading up to the establishment of our Post, securing it with a charter on
March 4, 1946. There were 224 original charter members of our Post. On April 29, 1947,
the VFW Auxiliary was chartered with 33 members.
The members of the Post have strived to build on four pillars:
- Service to Veterans
- Service to Youth and Families
- Service to our Community
Each of these pillars represents what our Post has aimed to do, to give back to the
community in which we live and help the veterans that have given so much to defend our
great country. In doing this, we remember those that gave the ultimate sacrifice to
defend our freedoms, those who died in combat in the conflicts that our country has
been in over these many years.
With the deep history in our Post, trying to summarize and include all historical
events would be a monumental task to include on a single web page. In 1996, for our 50
Year Anniversary, the Woodstock VFW News, a monthly publication dating back to 1955,
tried to capture the spirit and life of VFW Post 5040 through pictures and letters of
members throughout the years. This 45-page edition of the VFW news included many
photographs of members in activities.
Some of these activities include the following:
- Monthly trips to the Veterans Hospital at North Chicago
- V-J Day Parade and Pageant of Drums (1955-1974)
- Support of the National Home in Eaton Rapids
- World War II Honor Roll
- Buddy Poppy Days
- Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade on the Woodstock Square
- Honor Guard participation in funerals and ceremonies
- Fourth of July Festival and Carnival (1940's and 50's)
- Helped to bring the traveling Vietnam Wall to Woodstock Square
- 50th Anniversary memorial in Woodstock Square
- Voice of Democracy Contest for local schools
- Patriotic Pen Essay Contest
- Teachers Tea
- And the list goes on...
Some of the original members of our Post fought in conflicts as early as the
Spanish-American war of 1898. Today, we have over 250 VFW members and 50 Auxiliary members
in our Post. Initially, a majority of the
membership was made up of WW II veterans. As time passes, many of the WW II members are
becoming fewer and we strive to bring in members from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and
other recent conflicts. Even though the number of members at our monthly meetings
totals less than 20, we still have a dedicated few that continually look after the Post
and keep up the tradition of the VFW.
Events at our Post primarily raise money for helping veterans and their families. We
hold raffles and sell Poppies throughout the year to
benefit veterans, support local community charities, and hopefully have some money left
over that will keep our Post running.
What the future holds for our VFW is yet to be seen. In the early days of the VFW,
becoming a member was something that you felt good about. It helped get you involved in
the community and with the many members, there was always something happening down at
the Post. Today, in our fast paced world, members are hard to come by and attitudes
have changed somewhat. Filling leadership positions each year is a task in itself. Active
membership showing up to the Post meetings averages less than 20 members. There is a small
group of people that continually take care of the Post, but they can only do so much.
On December 17, 2015, our VFW Post home was sold for $295,000. The VFW moved into a smaller space just south of the Woodstock movie theater in December 2016. We are renting this space, but our original building was a just too large for our membership to deal with. We are still in the process of figuring out how to best use our new space and understand where we want to go from here.
One thing to remember and is constant: through honorable overseas military service can
a person can join the VFW. Once a member, they are pledged to defend human rights in
peace and war. Now and in the future, there will be foreign war veterans. Those that
participate can be assured that the Veterans of Foreign Wars will continue to be your
voice in assisting veterans, calling for improved benefits, and helping those in
To continue to do so, we need your support. All Veterans of the Armed Forces should
belong to some type of a Veterans organization chartered by Congress or recognized by
the Veterans Administration for claim representation. Joining one of these
organizations helps you and the thousands of other veterans by providing strength in
numbers. The more veterans we have in these organizations, the more "clout" we will
have in Washington and State governments. If you are eligible to join your local VFW,
you become a member of a very large, national organization and will be part of an
organization that helps benefit the community in which you live.