"Many wars or conflicts in United States history have a federally designated 'periods of war' date for their beginning and ending. These dates are important for qualification for certain veterans' pension or disability benefits. The American Legion also follows these dates closely in determining who is eligible for membership; the Veterans of Foreign Wars has its own much more elaborate list of dates. Confusion can occur because beginning and ending dates for 'periods of war' in many nonofficial sources are often different from those given in treaties and other official sources of information, and armistice dates can be confused with termination dates. This report lists the beginning and ending dates for 'periods of war' found in Title 38 of the 'Code of 'Federal Regulations', dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs. It also lists and differentiates other beginning dates given in declarations of war, as well as termination of hostilities dates and armistice and ending dates given in proclamations, laws, or treaties. This report will be updated when events warrant."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21405