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About the SSAWV

The United Spanish War Veterans (USWV) no longer exists. The Sons of Spanish-American War Veterans (SSAWV),
chartered by the USWV in 1937 does still exist.

Currently, it includes approximately four hundred members nationwide. There are active camps in South Carolina, Illinois, Colorado, California, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and more forming every year.

Annually, a national convention is held. Each Memorial Day, the organization takes part in events at Arlington National Cemetery. General Orders are mailed out to members twice a year.

Why Join?

“The Sons of Spanish – American War Veterans is a patriotic organization, affiliated with the United Spanish War Veterans, Inc. The first Camp of the Order was started in New York City in 1927 and grew into a National Group at Columbus, Ohio, 1937.

Let us be reminded of the services rendered by the Veterans of the Spanish – American War, the Insurrection in the Philippines, and the China Relief Expedition, the memory of which services this organization was formed to perpetuate.

Freedom. That condition enjoyed by the people of this nation through the leadership of George Washington and which the Spanish – American War Veterans in their youth carried to the people of Cuba.

Patriotism. The love of ones country that inspired the volunteers of 1898 to forsake all ties of home and business and offer their lives, if necessary, to bring liberty to an oppressed people struggling against tyranny.

Humanity. That sense of duty to our fellow men which animated our fathers in the performance of duty, that relieved the starvation in Puerto Rico, took happiness to the Philippines, provided for the open door in China, and stamped out yellow fever in our Southern States.

What the Organization Does:
“The Sons of Spanish American War Veterans, in close cooperation with the United Spanish War Veterans, the Auxiliary,
and the Daughters of 98′, Jr. Auxiliary of the United Spanish War Veterans, to carry out the principles of the organization:

  1. Participate in the proper observance of patriotic holidays and especially “Remember the Maine” Day; February 15th.
  2. Place flags on the graves of Spanish War Veterans.
  3. Through the Camps and Members – At – Large observe the care and upkeep of Spanish War Memorials
    and bring any failure to do so to the attention of proper authorities.
  4. With the assistance of the publication “The National Son” to further inculcate the love and honor of our flag;
    and uphold the principles of Freedom, Patriotism, and Humanity.
  5. Encourage in every possible way the importance of all American history to be studied properly in schools.” History of the SSAWV

History of the SSAWV:
“With the passing of the years, as the Great Commander reduces the ranks of the Veterans of the War of 98′, a new source of strength is coming to the fore to lend a helping hand. As the service of the Veterans of 61′ to 65′ is kept crystal clear by their sons, so, too, will the long and arduous service rendered by the Veterans of 1898 – 1902 be kept bright in the minds of men by the Sons of Spanish – American War Veterans. Always ready to assist the Veterans, however and whenever they may, they say: “We are willing. Call on Us.”?
The Society, Sons of Spanish – American War Veterans, was organized in the Spring of 1927 as the Sons Of United Spanish War Veterans. Its tenets were to perpetuate the memories of the men who served honorably in the War with Spain, the Philippine Insurrection, and the China Relief Expedition; to carry on the fight for adequate and equitable legislation for the Veterans of ’98 and for those widows and dependent minors in State and National Legislatures; and to concentrate their strength behind drives to keep this a land where the ideals of Washington, Lincoln, and the Veterans own McKinley might always hold sway.
Not least in this enumeration of its objects, is the aim to have its members so conduct themselves at all times under all circumstances as to make their veteran fathers proud to call them and give in to their care a heritage that is second to none!

Col. Rice W. Means

The First Camp:

The first Sons’ Camp in the United States, the nucleus of today’s great organization, was the Col. Rice W. Means Camp, No. 1, of New York City. Brought into being at a time when legislation affecting Veterans of the Spanish -American War was being introduced into Congress, its modest debut into the realm of junior allied veteran groups was scarcely noted in the more pressing affairs of the hour. To a few deeply interested veterans, however, it meant the transportation into the reality of a dream — the fulfillment of a fond hope.

Trials and Growth:

The subsequent growth of the Order was slow. Its path was beset with pitfalls that usually harass any pioneer movement; its leaders were challenged by the trials and tribulations attendant newly launched organizations. Practically all its early members were in their teens; few of its officers had ever had an opportunity to try their hands at organization tasks; and seldom did they know much of parliamentary procedure. The leaders of each new unit had, with but few exceptions, to learn everything in the painful and costly “School of Experience.”
But with the determination that had been characteristic of their fathers before them, these pioneer “Sons” kept their groups together and bit by bit the movement spread from two to two, from city to city, from state to state. Then a burst of enthusiasm swept the county. In all sections of the Nation units began springing up and in the year that followed more than thirty camps were chartered by the National Headquarters of the United Spanish War Veterans. Recognition by parent groups of the potential value of the Sons was one of the prime reasons for this growth and it has continued steadily over the intervening years. Over a hundred Camps had been chartered by General Headquarters of the U.S.W.V. for the Sons and four Departments were functioning by 1936. These were in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Wisconsin, with California, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania in a formative stage.

Rules Changed:

In the meanwhile, the Rules and Regulations set up by the Veteran for the Sons’ Organization had been revised and allowed for the creation of a Sons’ National Organization when five state departments should have been formed. Early in 1937 California became a department. Since this was the fifth such State unit the youthful Order was in line to become a National Body with its own headquarters, officers, etc.
At the 38th National Encampment of the United Spanish War Veterans at Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a National Administrator of the Sons of Spanish – American War Veterans was set up by the Veterans with full powers to create a National Organization of the Sons if and when he saw fit. At the same encampment, steps were taken to permit the Sons into the U.S.W.V. as an affiliated group.

First National Convention:
In 1937, at Columbus, Ohio — ten years after the institution of the original Camp — the Sons became a National Organization, elected National Officers, and became self-governing and accountable only to themselves and posterity. Too, the Veterans had revised their constitution so as to admit the Sons into the U.S.W.V. as an affiliated group. They were on their own! The Organization is not a military body in any sense of the word, although many of its members are veterans in their own rights.

(Melvin Benisch, the first National President
of the Sons of Spanish American War Veterans)


The Sons of Spanish – American War Veterans is a movement founded on the highest of ideals, that of “Honor Thy Father.” By entering the ranks of this group you will help to create something monumental, a living testimonial of your love for your greatest pal — your Dad! Since World War II and the Korean incident, the condition in the world today demand that we gather together all eligible Sons as soon as possible. This need for patriotic interests such as ours is great.


Since the time of their inception, the Sons of Spanish American War Veterans have striven to be of value and assistance to the parent Order. Its members have at all times placed themselves at the command of the Veteran whenever necessity called. They have always been ready to help in Memorial Day Parades and in Memorial Services throughout the year. They have lent able support to the various units of the parent organization in the decorating of Veterans’ graves. At times certain Camps have furnished the Bugler for the sounding of “TAPS” and the Firing Squads for the last rites at Veterans’ Burials. They have been active in calling attention to their fathers’ services in 98 ‘and the subsequent period up to 1902 and making it known to an unaware and perhaps indifferent public. Having capable young men in their organization’s Camps has enabled them to chastise whenever necessary those forces inimical to veteranism when they have dared place their derogatory remarks into public print. Camps all over the nation make visits to Veterans in the various Government Hospitals and Facilities and distribute cigarettes and cigars and other permissible items to the patients. In short, they are trying, as well as they can, to carry out their pledge to helpfulness to the Veterans and their allied groups — the Auxiliaries. The official Charter date for the SSAWV was the 24th of August 1937 in Columbus, Ohio at the 39th National Encampment of the USWV. The first National President was Melvin Richard Benisch.”

Lou, Arthur T. – Report of Reorganization and Reactivating Committee, Revised 1960.
Submitted By: (Gene Beals, CP, Nelson A. Miles Camp No.610)

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National Website of the Sons Of Spanish-American War Veterans
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