AMVETS or American Veterans is a volunteer-led organization formed by World War II veterans of the United States. It advocates for its members as well as for causes that it deems helpful to the nation at large.
The group holds a congressional charter under Title 36 of the United States Code; it is a 501(c)19 organization.
AMVETS is active in U.S. politics. Its primary political activity is lobbying for the interests of veterans, including support for veteran's benefits such as pensions and the Veterans Affairs hospital system; in addition, it has promoted other causes such as support for a Flag Burning Amendment.
The AMVETS Silver Helmet Award is an annual award to "recognize excellence and achievement in Americanism, defense, rehabilitation, congressional service and other fields." Sometimes called the "Veterans Oscar," the award is shaped like a small, silver replica of a World War II helmet. Recipients have included Edmund Muskie, Lyndon B. Johnson and Lee Greenwood.
The organization also gives out an award that used to be called the Peace Award, which in later years was called the Silver Helmet Peace Award, to honor people who promoted peace.
AMVETS is frequently involved with ROTC and JROTC programs. A local chapter in the schools area may present awards, scholarships, and savings bonds to qualifying cadets in a unit. It has a number of subordinate organizations, which help to advance the aims and purposes of the AMVETS organization. These subordinate organizations are:
- AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary-wives and female relatives of members
- Sons of AMVETS-male relatives of members
- Junior AMVETS-under-18 children and grandchildren of members, as well as those of the Ladies Auxiliary and the Sons of AMVETS
- Sad Sacks-entertainment group
- Sackettes-entertainment group of the Ladies Auxiliary
- The AMVETS Riders-motorcyclists
- AMVETS Career Center-providing services such as training and employment assistance for veterans and current military members
- "AMVETS - Our History". Archived from the original on 2007-06-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20070607090004/http://www.amvets.org/HTML/who_we_are/our_history.html. Retrieved 2007-09-13.
- A film clip "Longines Chronoscope with Henry J. Mahady)" is available for free download at the Internet Archive [more]
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