Members of Veterans of Foreign War Post 701 in Lansing spent the weekend remembering fallen comrades. They held a memorial ceremony Sunday and also participated in several community events. But they also were thinking about the post's membership. This year there are 800 members, but that number could go up next year.
VFW members are hoping new veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom will join them when they return from duty. With more than 1,000 World War II veterans dying each day, membership has been down. Post 701 used to be made up of 77-percent WWII vets.
In Michigan, only 71,000 of the 425, 000 eligible veterans belong to the VFW. Members say attention on the military in the past months may prompt veterans to join. The VFW supports veterans affairs, and helps them receive benefits. VFW members also assist in community events and service.
Veterans need their discharge papers and DD-214 paper to join the VFW. Annual membership fees are $20, but a lifetime membership can be purchased for between $85 and $245, depending on age.