Grand Army of the Republic
(GAR) badge


The modern-day U.S. Veterans Administration was established in 1930. Prior to that, however, local and state agencies provided varying degrees of medical care and financial assistance for veterans.

After the Civil War, a private national organization was founded to care for veterans and their families. Major B.F. Stephenson, who had fought with the 14th Illinois Infantry, founded the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) in 1866. The GAR followed military hierarchy, including ranks, posts, and national headquarters. The GAR motto was "Fraternity, Charity and Loyalty," and its badge depicts these ideas.

The GAR had three main purposes: to provide a fraternal organization for veterans and to promote the memories of war dead, to provide aid for veterans and families of war dead, and "To maintain true allegiance to the United States of America."

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