40 & 8 NATIONAL
The national 40/8 was founded in 1920 by American Legion members as an honor society. From it’s beginning it has been committed to charitable aims. In 1960 the 40/8 became an independent Veterans Service Organization.
In 1973 the racial restrictive requirements were changed and in 2006, so were the gender requirements.
In 2008, the 40/8 opened its membership eligibility to all honorably discharged veterans, thereby removing the exclusive membership of Legionnaires only. All 40/8 members are thus veterans of congressionally recognized wartime periods.
Locally, the Dubois County 40/8 was chartered on April 23, 1925, and was incorporated in 1975.
They sponsor 16 students from our local schools who are pursuing a nursing career. Each student receives $400 per year to help with their expenses as long as they remain enrolled each semester. The funds come from the monthly barbeque proceeds.
The Forty & Eight’s titles and symbols reflect its First World War origins. American servicemen in France were transported to the battle front on narrow gauge French railroads (Chemin de Fer) inside boxcars (Voitures) that were half the size of American boxcars. Each French boxcar was stenciled with a “40/8”, denoting its capacity to hold either forty men or eight horses. This ignominious and uncomfortable mode of transportation was familiar to all who traveled from the coast to the trenches; a common small misery among American soldiers who thereafter found “40/8” a lighthearted symbol of the deeper service, sacrifice and unspoken horrors of war that truly bind those who have borne the battle.
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