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Celebrate 100 years with VFW Post 318

Event is open to the public Friday, Nov. 8

VFW Post 318 gets ready to kick off their 100-year celebration. Photo credit: Brendan Baptiste

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The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) is a nonprofit who services veterans and service members. The roots of this organization go back to the late 1800s when the American Veterans of Foreign Service and the National Society of the Army of the Philippines worked together to secure rights and benefits for those who had served in the Spanish American War and the Philippines War. Their merger in 1914 would make it the oldest veteran's service organization in the country. With 1.6 million members across all 50 states, the VFW also stands as the largest.

Historically, the VFW pushed for monumental changes that helped to bring about the creation of the Veterans Administration and the development of the national cemetery system for veterans. Their efforts helped to get compensation to Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and updating the GI Bill expanding veteran educational benefits covering those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Over the years, the VFW has made it a point to focus on many issues such as healthcare, women veterans, suicide prevention and homelessness, VA Benefits and compensation, education and employment, and POW/MIA support. This list is still only a small sample size of the important issues the organization is working to create change in. The VFW is truly dedicated to "Veteran's service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs".

The VFW has over 6,200 posts worldwide. One of those being the Ira L. Cater Post located in Olympia. VFW Post 318 is named in honor of local Olympia resident Ira Lee Cater who gave his life during World War I. The Cater family relocated to Tumwater from Indiana when Ira was 5 years old. In 1905, they moved to Olympia. He attended Washington Middle School, which was located where the National Guard Armory now stands at 515 Eastside St. SE.

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war on Germany. Ira chose to drop out of school before his senior year to enlist in the National Guard with the 161st Infantry on Camp Murray. The 161st was created from the Second Infantry Regiment of the Washington State National Guard. On Oct. 16, 1918, Cpl. Ira Lee Cater died from shrapnel-caused head wounds received in action during the Second Argonne Offensive.

Post Commander Amy Buckley announced that Nov. 8, the VFW will celebrate the 100th birthday celebration of VFW Post 318. The event will feature prizes, raffles, food catered by local businesses, champagne toast, and live music. Invitation is open to the public. The main parking lot is reserved for dignitaries and those with special needs. Parking is available at the Sears parking lot on Sleater Kinney Rd. in Lacey. Shuttle Service will be provided to the venue.

To RSVP for event please send email to Cmdr. Amy Buckley at

Ira L. Cater VFW Post 318 100th Birthday Celebration, 3 p.m., Friday, Nov. 8, 2902 Martin Way E, Olympia

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