Newsletter Articles

From the Book Shelf

by Mike Denton

Sea Power
The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans

by Admiral James Stavridis (USN Ret’d)


Sea Power The History and Geopolitics of the World’s Oceans by Admiral James Stavridis (USN Ret’d)The subtitle of the books tells us a great deal about it’s content, in that Admiral Stavridis examines in great but interesting detail the military/ naval history of every ocean on the planet and the influence of those large bodies of water on ecomomies and politics throughout human history.

Stavridis, the only Naval officer to ever serve as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, spent much of his early career as a Surface Warfare Officer (What we non aviation types think of as the real Navy) in destroyers and cruisers and seems to have taken maximum advantage of the opportunity to cruise the oceans of the world, and acquire a broad sense of how the oceans impact our lives.

Stavridis examines the world ocean by ocean, from the Mediteranean to the Arctic and everything in between. Most of us, I think, know little about the history of the worlds coastal (or “Littoral, a word of which he seems inordinately fond) peoples prior to the voyages of Columbus and the early Portugese explorers, but the Admiral gives us a good look at the early sailors of all of the world’s major civilizations and some not so major.

Other reviewers comments: “…knows his maritime history, but equally important is his firsthand knowledge of the seas. He vividly relates what it felt like as a young naval officer taking a boat through the Panama Canal or the Torres Strait between Australia and New Guinea, and he adds personal authority to his more general points about the different bodies of water…A highly readable, instructive look at the role of the oceans in our civilization, past and present.” Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“Fellow Admiral Jim Stavridis spent nearly four decades as a US Navy Sailor, and is well known as an important geopolitical thinker. In Sea Power both of those attributes come together in creating a must read for anyone seriously thinking about the world’s challenges in the 21st century.” —Admiral Bill McRaven, USN (Ret.), Chancellor, The University of Texas System and former Commander, U.S. Special Operations Command

Annual July 4th Parade and Barbecue!

Annual July 4th Parade and BarbecueA large contingent of veterans, members of VFW Post 8870 and our friends from American Legion Post 66, as well as others from the Military order of the Purple Heart, lined up in downtown Edmonds to participate in the annual “Edmonds Kind of 4th” parade.

Veterans formed the leading color guard for the parade and received an extremely warm and enthusistic response from the huge crowd lining the streets. The parade follows an approximately 1.9 mile course through downtown Edmonds, which takes it through the entire downtown area. We were fortunate to have several jeep type vehicles to allow some of our senior members to participate.

Following the parade, our usual barbecue took place at the American Legion Hall, where our wonderful crew of set up people and grillmasters put together a terrific meal of hamburgers, hot dogs and appropriate salad, chips and drinks.

Annual July 4th Parade and Barbecue

Forming up for the parade

Annual July 4th Parade and Barbecue

Three expert grillmasters hard at work on the barbecue

Annual July 4th Parade and Barbecue

Lunch is Served!

Edmonds Post Sponsors “Hero’s Cafe”

Post 8870 sponsored the July Hero’s Cafe , a monthly gathering for all veterans to focus on fostering positive outreach, interaction, and welfare within our community. This month’s event at the Verdant Wellness Center in Lynnwood, was well attended by approximately 85 veterans, friends and family.

Edmonds Post Sponsors “Hero’s Cafe”

The sponsoring Veterans organization each month is responsible to provide funds for food and other expenses and also personnel to set up and tear down for the event.

Post 8870 members Mike Denton, Les Abel, Carl Kurfess and Phil Sacks were present to execute our responsibilities, arriving early in the morning between 0830 and 0900 and staying to help host the event until around 1430 when clean up was complete.

Lynnwood Mayor Nicola Smith was present with a few remarks and to introduce the featured program consisting of a presentation from Snohomish County Fire District 1 on the proposed merger of the Lynnwood Fire Department with the Fire District.

Hero’s Cafe is sponsored by the City of Lynnwood, Work Source, VFW, American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Gold Star Mothers, Catholic Charities USA and the EdCC Veterans Resource Center.

Vietnam Retrospective

The following is an excerpt from a lengthy article written in response to a college student who asked for personal narratives addressing the question: “What is a Vietnam Veteran?”

“Mostly–and this I believe with all my heart–mostly, we wish we had not been so alone. Some of us went with units; but many, probably most of us, were civilians one day, jerked up out of “the world,” shaved, barked at, insulted, humiliated, de-egoized and taught to kill, to fix radios, to drive trucks. We went, put in our time, and were equally ungraciously plucked out of the morass and placed back in the real world. But now we smoked dope, shot skag, or drank heavily. Our wives or husbands seemed distant and strange. Our friends wanted to know if we shot anybody.

And life went on, had been going on, as if we hadn’t been there, as if Vietnam was a topic of political conversation or college protest or news copy, not a matter of life and death for tens of thousands.“

Copyright © 1996 Dan Mouer, All Rights Reserved

We Did It! — Edmonds Veterans Plaza Dedicated!

Edmonds Veterans PlazaDedicatedAfter three years of effort and the raising of nearly $ 600,000, Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling cuts the ribbon to officially open the new Edmonds Veterans plaza as members of the Plaza Steering Committee look on.

Edmonds Veterans PlazaDedicated

A crowd estimated to exceed 500 hears Plaza Steering Committee leaders Ron Clyborne and Maria Montalvo open the ceremonies.

Edmonds Veterans PlazaDedicated

Keynote speaker Lt. Gen. Robert Otto, USAF (Ret) General Otto spoke movingly about service and honoring veterans.

Edmonds Veterans PlazaDedicated

Mike Reagan, Marine veteran of Vietnam & Post 8870 member, spoke about coming home and remembering the fallen.

Photos by Theresa Whipple, My

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