Newsletter Articles

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication

by Jim Traner

We had a fantastic turnout at the Plaza on May 24, to get the Plaza ready for the dedication. The city and Park Department were there as well as our planners, Siteworks.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication The City provided the plants and Siteworks indicated where we needed to dig and what to plant after we got the hole dug. Post 8870 members who showed up were Dick Simmons, John Shelton and his wife, Dan Doyle, Paul Russo, Phil Sacks, Mark Williams, Tom Hallums, Charlie Gaul, Duane Bowman, Terry Crabtree, Les Abel, Jerry Burton and Jim Tarner. Others there to help included State Rep. Strom Peterson, Maria Montalvo, Mike Schindler, Bob Rinehart, 6 ladies from the Woodsound Garden Club, and 3 members of the Growing Veterans organization.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication In the end, the Plaza looked like the finished product although the Parks Department and Siteworks Tell us there is still work to be done. Many thanks to all our volunteers for putting the finishing touch on our Edmonds Veterans Plaza.

Volunteer Gardeners Prepared Plaza for Dedication

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

8870 member First Sgt Chris Edwards of Washington NationalGuard directed the flag ceremony.

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

Approximately 20 Post members acted as color guard under the leadership of John Shelton. John also acted as the bell ringer for the ships bell ceremony.

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

Post Commander Terry Crabtree and Jim Collins hoist the colors.

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

Post 8870 and District 1 Voice of Democracy winner Olivia Olson recited her essay.

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

Chaplain Dan Doyle offered the benediction and spoke on his experience as a Navy Corpsman with the Marines at Ke Sanh.

Memorial Day Observance at Edmonds Cemetery

Dick Simmons read the names of the fallen at the Ships bell ceremony.

Memorial Day Poppy Donations Smash Previous Revenue Records

Memorial Day Poppy Donations Smash Previous Revenue RecordsLed by the crew manning the Buddy Poppy tables at Central Market in Mill Creek, Post 8870 surpassed our previous record high donation revenues by more than $ 2,000 with a total at press time of $16,767!

Shown at left are Commander Terry Crabtree and Past Commander Fred Apgar, who established the Mill Creek location and led it before moving out of town late last year. Fred was visiting to take care of loose ends involved with his move and was kind enough to join the crew on Sunday.

Well done on the part of everyone participating.

It is gratifying to have the opportunity to hear so many people tell their personal stories of military service, or those of members of their families. Donors gave to honor veterans of both world wars and all of our more recent conflicts. The gratitude shown by so many to veterans participating is always very moving.

If you didn’t parfticipate this time around, please consider joining us for Veterans Day in November.

These additional monies will allow our Relief Committee to do much more for veterans in need and their families.

Memorial Day Poppy Donations Smash Previous Revenue Records

Memorial Day Poppy Donations Smash Previous Revenue Records

It seems appropriate in this 100th anniversary year of the United States involvement in World War I, to remember Canadian Col. John Mcrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” from which the now long standing tradition of the red poppy as the symbol of of Memorial Day and The British Commonwealth’s Remembrance Day, derives.

Veteran Suicide Epidemic

Chaplain Dan Doyleby Chaplain Dan Doyle

To say that war is hell is merely an aphorism, but to have lived through that hell is another thing altogether. To come back from that hell and to try to get back into the everyday realities of civilian life while still bearing the unhealed external and internal scars of that hell is more difficult than most can understand. It is important here to remember that all wounds are capable of being healed, if the proper conditions are offered. Currently we are experiencing an epidemic of veteran suicides. On average, 22 of our veterans are committing suicide each day.  Why is this happening? What is being done about it? I have written a series of two articles on this topic, which have just been published on my blog for

[ed. note: Recent statistics on total suicides in the US show approximately 18% (based on the 22 per day quoted above) are veterans, a number far above the approximately 7% percent of the population veterans represent]

I have been writing for for the last seven years. The site raises money to feed homeless veterans, and offers lots of valuable veteran information. You can reach the site by going to There is a blue “free” donation button on the homepage and, by clicking on that button, you generate funds from corporate sponsors, 100% of which goes to various organizations around the country that provide meals for homeless veterans. On the menu line of the homepage, second from the left, you will see the words “videos and stories,” click on that and a drop down menu appears. Click on “Notes from a Veteran” and that will take you to my blog. You will find the articles mentioned above, as well as many of the other articles I have written over the last few years.

Following is a direct link to the first of Dan’s two articles:

Dan Doyle is a Vietam veteran who served as a Navy Corpsman with the Marine Corps.

A Memorial to Remember June 6, 1944

9,000 Fallen Soldiers Etched into the Sand on Normandy Beach

Photos and text courtesy of Jim McCann

A large percentage of our country doesn’t know of or care about Normandy. This year, a British artist, accompanied by numerous volunteers, took to the beaches of Normandy with rakes and stencils in hand to etch 9,000 silhouettes representing fallen soldiers into the sand.

Titled “The Fallen 9000”, the piece is meant as a stark visual reminder of those who died during the D-Day beach landings at Arromanches on June 6th, 1944 during WWII. It is hard for us, who have never had such an experience, to imagine charging off those landing craft under heavy artillery, mortar and machine gun fire, with men falling all around you. They were indeed the greatest generation. The original team consisted of 60 volunteers, but as word spread nearly 500 additional local residents arrived to help with the temporary installation that lasted only a few hours before being washed away by the tide.

A Memorial to Remember June 6, 1944

Memorial Day: Remember the Fallen

Buddy Poppy Distribution

Memorial Day poppy distribution will occur on Memorial Day weekend May 26-28 at Edmonds Way and Mukilteo QFC stores, Fred Meyer at 164th & Alderwood Mall Blvd. and at Central market in Mill Creek. Poppy coordinators Bob Crawford and Jim Mc Cann will be taking sign ups for Friday and Saturday shifts, plus Sunday shifts at Central Market in Mill Creek only. Please participate. This is the major fund raiser which allows the post to support veterans and our community projects. The more people we have on hand, the more poppies we hand out and the more money we collect to benefit our Veterans. Besides, it’s fun!

At below is John McCrae’s poem ”In Flanders Fields”; the source of the poppy as the object of remembrance for the fallen.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Poppy Distribution

Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day 2017

Annual Memorial Day Observance, Edmonds Cemetary

Monday, May 29, 11:00 AM. Join our color guard and participate in the ceremonies to honor the fallen. We will form up near the east entrance at 10:45, then at 11;00 we will proceed to the Flag pole and hold colors


Edmonds Veterans Plaza Dedication 

Monday, May 29, 2:00-3:00 PM at 5th Ave & Bell St in downtown Edmonds. (Bell St. Will be closed to traffic, 5th Ave will be open for drop off and handicapped parking.) 


Honoring All Veterans | Past, Present and Future

Guest Speakers: 

Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling

Lt. Gen Robert Otto, USAF Retired

State Representative Strom Peterson

Fallen Heroes Project Artist Michael G. Reagan


Following the dedication, we will host an informal reception at the American legion Hall with beverages, snacks & desserts. All are welcome.

All members of VFW Post 8870 are urged to attend. Please wear your cover.


New Member Steve Brown

Steve is shown being welcomed into the Post by Commander Terry Crabtree. A Vietnam veteran, Steve was a MAT team advisor embedded with the “ruff-puffs” in II Corp. 1970-1971.

NL0517_Steve-BrownSteve told us: “ I was in the Army for five and a half years and made Captain when I left Viet Nam in April, 1971. Finished up in Baumholder, Germany after eighteen more months as Company commander with the 268 Armor BN. I’ve worked the aviation Industry for nearly forty years-Currently own my own machine shop and am still working-part time with my son. Been married for 44 years and have a son, daughter and teenage granddaughter. My wife was also in the military (1Lt) when we got married after I came home from Nam. We’ve lived peacefully in Mill Creek for the past 30 years. “  

Edmonds Veterans Plaza

Project Completion is in Sight


The photos below were shot by Jim Traner on April 27, reflecting the status of construction with just one month remaining until dedication on Memorial Day.

The first photo shows the installation of granite paving blocks, purchased by friends and family to honor individual veterans, viewed looking north from the bell Street side.

In the second picture, we see a view of the wall and seating area, all of which will be surrounded by garden. This view is from the Bell St. side, closer to 5th Ave.

Edmonds Veterans Plaza: Project Completion is in Sight NL0517_Veterans-Plaza_1

The Chaplain’s Corner

Coming Home From Vietnam, 47 Years Later

By Dan Doyle

Forty seven years ago I was serving as a Fleet Marine Corpsman with Bravo Co., 3rd Recon Bn., 3rd Marine Division. When my generation came home it was to a nation that was severely divided over the war and we often found ourselves rejected by former friends, belittled, even despised by many because of our service in Vietnam. Those who were vehemently against the war either could not, or would not, separate the warriors from the politics of the war.

We, of course, had our own issues, suffering, as so many of us were, from the various symptoms of what would later be recognized as PTSD. Our families, too, struggled to understand our angers, our silences, our restlessness. As a result, we learned to keep all of that “stuff” inside, shoving it into the background as best we could. In time, most of us just found ways to go on and to succeed in our lives.

As a result of that time in our country’s history, we never felt the important psychological experience of being “welcomed home.” Vietnam veterans, on meeting each other for the first time, even these many years after the war, will often say “welcome home” to one another. It means that much. It is that important. 

Our service, which was honorable and done with great courage and skill, was never recognized, or respected in the way it had been for veterans from other wars. Time, though, and the terrible events of September 11, 2001, brought about a change in the general attitude of society toward the men and women of the modern all-volunteer military. Now, even if people disagree with the wars, they have been able (for the most part) to separate the warriors from the war and to give them the honor and the respect they are due. We Vietnam veterans are profoundly happy to see these men and women who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan coming home to warm welcomes and getting positive coverage by the media. In a strange sort of way this new attitude toward the toward the warriors coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan has come to encompass the warriors of my generation too.

I experienced a personal example of this change in attitude this past April 28th, in Spokane, Washington, forty seven years after I came home from Vietnam. I was a veteran chosen to be honored at Washington Secondary School Athletic Administrators Association (WASSAAA) annual conference in Spokane in 2015. The conference also invited my siblings to be in attendance and to participate in this event. For the past five years, the WASSAAA conference has included the honoring of a military veteran in their program. It has become an important part of their annual conference. The people involved with WASSAAA are hard working and dedicated to the daily struggle of molding young student athletes in middle schools and secondary schools all across the state of Washington. Having met them, I can tell you that they do it with love, joy, and good humor as well.

Coming Home From Vietnam, 47 Years Later

Dan, with his brothers and sister

The welcome and the respect that these folks have for our military veterans is both genuine and warm. When I was introduced at the conference dinner event, a nine minute film interview done with me last year by U.S.A. Military Medals (USAMM) was shown, after which I was overwhelmed by the standing ovation I was given. It moved me very deeply. In fact I can say that now I know what it feels like to be “welcomed Dan, with his brothers and sister home.”

From the Book Shelf

The Fleet at Flood Tide
America at Total War in the Pacific, 1944-1945

By James D. Hornfischer


There was no explaining away what thousands of Marines had observed with their own disbelieving eyes in the Marianas. The ritual suicides of the Japanese garrisons, their predatory brainwashing and murder of the innocent unarmed, have been insufficiently considered as a turning point that shaped the war’s final year. … The first direct U.S. experience of total war occurred in the Marianas, and it renewed the will to win and to win totally, using all means available, without restraint. Unconditional surrender became the byword of this new resolve.

 Viewed through the haze of 7-plus decades it is hard to imagine the scope, the dedication and the unimaginable horrors of total all-out world war that was WWII. But James Hornfischer describes it well in his latest book, The Fleet at Flood Tide.

 As the brief excerpt above suggests, this splendid volume is a detailed narrative of the U.S. offensive into the Mariana Islands of the Central Pacific and the final year of the war.

If one can quibble with anything about the book, to me it would be the title, specifically “The Fleet.” It is far from being just a chronicle of naval warfare. Rather it spells out in close detail the overwhelming air, land and sea operations that seized the strategically vital islands of Saipan, Tinian and Guam.

It is the story of the strategies and planning at the highest levels, but also it is the story of the individual men—mostly very young men—that made victory happen. It details what one reviewer called the true nature of their foe—not only the Imperial Japanese military—but its suicide-ready civilians as well.

He said that after the bloody capture of Saipan, two clear truths emerged: “A great victory was in hand… and far worse lay ahead.”

If you have ever questioned the decisions that brought about the end of the war, Hornfischer may make you reorder your thinking. The book makes clear the unimaginable depth of the Japanese will to resist. The reader is left with the obvious conclusion that an invasion of Japan proper would have been bloody beyond measure, for us as well as for the Japanese populace.

Today we all know how the saga ends, but this highly recommended book details how in the final months of the war we got there. It covers the penultimate B-29 incendiary raids on Japan and the painfully considered use of atomic bombs. But most significantly, it tells the story of the actions of soldiers, sailors, and airmen that combined to achieve victory.

— Reviewed by Past Commander Jim Blossey