Woodmen of the World
Its history includes the erection of numerous distinctive tombstones depicting tree stumps across the country prior to 1930, a program to donate flags, and broadcast interests that were to own the first television station where Johnny Carson worked.
The organization was founded in 1890 in Omaha, Nebraska, by Joseph Cullen Root. Root, who was a member of several fraternal organizations including the Freemasons, had founded Modern Woodmen of America in Lyons, Iowa, in 1883, after hearing a sermon about "pioneer woodsmen clearing away the forest to provide for their families". Taking his own surname to heart, he wanted to start a Society that "would clear away problems of financial security for its members". Root moved to Omaha, where he started Woodmen of the World on June 6, 1890.
The organization formerly owned a 19-story tower at 14th and Farnam Streets which was the tallest building between Chicago and the West coast at the time of its dedication in 1912. WOW built its current 30-story Woodmen Tower in 1969. It was Omaha's tallest building until the completion of the 45-story First National Bank Tower in 2002. The original WOW building was demolished in 1977. Also there are many buildings in which Woodmen of the World chapters met, and some of these are notable buildings.
Broadcasting interests 
The organization played an important role in broadcast history, until it was forced to divest itself of these holdings because of its non-profit status. On November 27, 1922, the Society began radio station "WOAW", with a signal that reached ships in both the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean from its 500-watt (later 1,000 watt and eventually 5,000 watt) transmitter. In 1926, the station became WOW after the ship SS Bible which had the callsign was retired.
The organization's non-profit status was to cause a legal battle over ownership of the station. In 1943, the station was leased to an independent organization, Radio Station WOW, Inc. The United States Supreme Court voided the lease, returning it to the Society but keeping the license in the hands of the station. In 1949, the radio station launched WOW-TV. Among its first performers was Johnny Carson, who had a daily show called The Squirrel's Nest where he told jokes, conducted humorous interviews and staged various skits with wacky comic characters.
Stock in the broadcasting company was bought out by Meredith Corporation in 1958, effectively ending the society's relationship with the station, though the WOW name continued. The television station became to WOWT in 1975 to obtain FCC approval of the sale to Chronicle Broadcasting. In 1999, Journal Broadcast Group changed the unusual three-letter radio call sign to KOMJ, later KXSP for the AM station. The FM station became KQCH.
Today, Woodmen of the World provides financial solutions to approximately 800,000 members in the US. These include life insurance and annuities, cancer insurance, and access to mutual funds, 529 College Savings Plans and other financial services. Members are also eligible to receive a wide array of fraternal benefits. These include participation in a youth program, a camping experience for youth and senior members, disaster relief assistance, a prescription drug discount card, and monetary support for members' orphaned children. Another aspect of the organization's patriotic mission is the annual In Honor and Remembrance program, which pays tribute to the heroes and victims of the September 11th attacks.
The program includes conducting public ceremonies each year on September 11, and donating flagpoles and American flags to schools, fire departments, parks and other public places. More than 2,400 In Honor and Remembrance ceremonies have been held since the program began in 2002. To mark the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Woodmen of the World hung two 50- x 100-foot U.S. flags on the Woodmen Tower. Twin beams of light, with a combined 10-billion candela, illuminated the Omaha skyline each evening during the week of 9/11 in tribute to the World Trade Center.
With the Woodmen of the World/American Red Cross disaster relief partnership, the organization's 800,000 members are encouraged to support the disaster relief work of their local Red Cross chapters. In 2005, following the Gulf Coast hurricanes, Woodmen of the World members reported more than 206,000 hours of volunteer assistance. This included preparing more than 175,000 meals for storm victims, evacuees and rescue workers. Woodmen of the World camp facilities in several states were also used as mass shelter sites. Woodmen of the World is one of the leading presenters of U.S. flags to schools and non-profit groups. There are approximately 2,000 community-based Woodmen of the World lodges throughout the nation. Lodges conduct volunteer, patriotic and charitable activities that benefit individuals and communities. Woodmen of the World lodges have presented more than 1.4 million U.S. flags over the past 60 years.
One enduring physical legacy of the organization are distinctive headstones in the shape of a tree stump. This was an early benefit of Woodmen of the World membership, and they are found in cemeteries nationwide. This program was abandoned in the late 1920s as it was too costly.
Typically the headstones would include a depiction of the WOW relics—symbols of the organization. These include most notably a stump or felled tree (inscribed into a more generic monument in some cases, rather than the more noticeable instances of the entire monument being in the shape of the log or tree-stump); the maul and wedge; an axe; and often a Dove of Peace with an olive branch. As Woodmen "do not lie" a common inscription: "Here rests a Woodman of the World".
Popular culture 
- "Joseph Cullen Root - Giant Of American Fraternalism". srjarchives.tripod.com.
- "Woodmen of the World Building". emporis.com. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "Woodmen of the WorldTower and First National Tower". unl.edu. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "A Tribute To A Midwest Broadcast Legend WOW 590AM". tripod.com. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- "Carson, Johnny". museum.tv. Retrieved 6 October 2010.