The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Membership Badge was given to veterans of the Union Army after the Civil War who joined the GAR. This organization promoted the patriotism in the observance of Memorial Day (formally Decoration Day) and Flag Day. Their objectives were fraternity among Union veterans, charity for needy veterans, widows, and orphans of veterans; and loyalty to the United States and its Constitution.
This badge was originally made in 1866-68 and was more of a shield without ribbon. It was redesigned in 1869 with the ribbon suspended from an eagle perched on crossed cannons with a badge that resembled the Medal of Honor hanging from the ribbon. In 1880 the badge was again redesigned to the one pictured.