1946 the Elks made the solemn pledge: "So Long as There
are Veterans in Our Hospitals, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks Will
Never Forget Them."
The Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks provides year-round entertainment and recreation at each of the country's Veterans Administration hospitals. These activities are sponsored by the Elks National Veterans Service Commission in cooperation with the State Elks Associations and the local Elks lodges. Patients are treated to parties, boxing and wrestling matches, sports celebrity nights and other entertainment. Those who can get about are taken to baseball, football and basketball games. They also go on fishing trips, picnics and other outings.
The Order supports occupational therapy programs. They collect and distribute to veterans hospitals tons of leather hides, furs, rooster feathers, old clocks and watches, jewelry and electrical appliances. Another activity for veterans is the collecting and distribution of hundreds of thousands of decks of playing cards to veterans hospitals. These cards are collected by the local Elk lodges and the State Elks Associations.
The Elks National Veterans Service Commission provided funds and materials to build a recreational unit at the Navy Hospital in Guam. At the same time, when the Commission learned that wounded veterans from Vietnam were sweltering in Tripler Army Medical Center that lacked air conditioning, they provided 24 air conditioning units. That Elks hold veterans in high esteem is evident by their actions. When the Order opened its National Headquarters and Memorial Building in 1926, it was dedicated to the fighting men of World War 1. In 1946, they rededicated the edifice to those who saw service in World War 11. Again in 1976, this honor was bestowed on those who paid the sacrifice in Korea and Vietnam.
The recognition by the Elks of those patriots who had served in Vietnam was a full ten years before the United States government or any other organization recognized their sacrifices to America. Once again the Elks have led the way.
The Elks were among the first fraternal organizations to formally welcome home the returning Veterans from Operation Desert Storm. Subordinate Lodges held appropriate functions recognizing the veterans sacrifices and thanking them for their commitment to duty. As long as the Elks exist, our hospitalized veterans will be provided for. At Mahwah, our committee is always looking for new members. We work primarily with the Veterans home in Paramus. We play Bingo and/or cards with the Veterans living there. We send each of them birthday cards on their 'special' day. (many times it is the only acknowledgment many of these brave Veterans receive) We provide Christmas gifts during the holidays. Our committee stands ready to help in whatever way possible, both with our time and with much needed supplies and gifts. Anyone interested in helping can contact any Officer, or the committee chairman,
The National Veterans Service Commission has served the interests of America's veterans since World War I. Today the Commission operates a range of programs designed to improve the quality of life of our veterans as well as salute their service to the country.
The Elks Veterans Memorial is a tribute to the bravery, loyalty and dedication of the thousands of Elks who have fought and died for our country. It has been described as one of the most magnificent war memorials in the world, but with its monumental architecture and priceless art, the Memorial is more a symbol of peace and of the patriotism of the members of the Elks fraternity.