Whatever holidays you and yours celebrate, we hope they will be filled with good company, good food and all the joys of being with family and friends.
More than 350 veterans, families, kids and well-wishers overflowed onto the sidewalks surrounding the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Monday afternoon, all drawn by one purpose — to honor, remember and connect with our military veterans.
Dan Doyle, VFW Post 8870 Chaplain, gave an emotional invocation that crystalized in a few words the meaning of the day.
“We’re here today to honor those who at some point in their lives signed a blank check to give, up to even their lives, in service to you,” he said, “so that you and we all could enjoy the liberties, peace and privileges of this nation.”
Emcee Rose Gilliland, VFW Post 8870 Commander, then took over: “I feel like I’m sitting in a living history today,” she began. “I’m surrounded by veterans who have lived it, breathed it and done it.” She went on to call on attendees from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (the War on Terror) to be recognized.
Keynote speaker was State Representative Strom Peterson, who recalled how the Edmonds Veterans Plaza got its start during his tenure serving on the Edmonds City Council. “It was about five years ago that a core group of organizers put their energies together to turn this area into a special place to honor veterans,” he said. “With dogged determination, this core group provided the energy and inspiration to accomplish this in record time.” Peterson went on to stress the key role of the plaza in providing a place to make connections.“For those who did not have the opportunity to serve, it’s a place to connect with and learn from those who did,” he explained. “For veterans like Michael Reagan who walks by my house every day on his daily pilgrimage to the plaza, it’s a place to make connections with his friends, some of whom didn’t make it back. And for all of us, it’s a place to remember what it means to serve our country and our community.”
Jim Traner then announced the names of those honored with newly placed pavers in the plaza:
Ron Pajoman, Navy 1960-1965
Chuck Smith, Army 1963-1999
Patrick Marker, Marines 1944-1946; 1950-1951
John, Gregg and Kim Sharp, Marines, Navy and Navy respectively (single paver)
Beau Crabtree, Army 1991-2001
Donald Stapleton, Air Force, 1957-1978
William Cobb, Marine 1966-1968
Edward Johnson, Navy 1942-1946
Paul Hauck, Army 1944-1946; 1947-1963
Jim Roy Harrison, Navy 1942-1945
Jack Oharah, Navy 1962-1966
Jeffrey James Curtis, Marines, 1966-1967
Gold Star Mother Monica McNeal was on hand to present a Vietnam War 50-year commemorative pin to Vietnam veterans who had not previously received one. The program closed with Mike Denton leading attendees in a chorus of “God Bless America”.
“In Flanders Fields the Poppies Blow…”
On Friday, November 8 and Saturday, November 9, members of Post 8870 once again gathered at three area QFC stores and one local Fred Meyer to distribute Buddy Poppies in remembrance of our fallen comrades and to honor all of our brother veterans.
The weather was reasonably kind this year, though the intrepid volunteers at QFC West Lynnwood and Mukilteo Speedway, who have less shelter than the other two locations, found it a bit on the chilly side.
The folks in Mukilteo were particularly generous, donating over $ 6,000 at that location alone. The results are shown in the table below in a store by store tabulation, the total reflecting an all time record result. Our Relief fund budget is well funded, at least until next spring. We will be able to do many good things for veterans and our community.
A hearty well done and many thanks to all who participated, particularly to the friends and families of our members who joined us in volunteering their time and, of course, to the management and employees of QFC and Fred Meyer for providing the space for our effort!
QFC Speedway $6,356
QFC Westgate 3,951
QFC 196th 3,628
Fred Meyer 2,828
Est. Square, coins, misc. 786
Mike Meyer, an Army veteran who flew Cobra helicopters in Vietnam was inducted into the Post at the November meeting. He was introduced to the Post by his near neighbor, Jr. Vice Commander Duane Bowman. After leaving the service, Mike worked in construction management. He is married and has one daughter. Mike was welcomed in picture at left by Officer of the Day Jim Collins as his sponsor, Duane Bowman and the rest of the membership look on. Mike jumped right in to volunteer on the Buddy Poppy drive for Veterans Day.
If you have put off writing your will or other plans for your estate, you’re not alone. Estate planning need not be a chore, rather an opportunity to create your legacy.
When creating or updating your plan, consider including a gift to the VFW. You’ll be able to extend your values through your ongoing support of fellow veterans. By leaving a percentage of your estate, you can make a big difference while still retaining your assets for life.
To learn more about gift planning and options that could work for you, visit vfw.org/plannedgiving.
At the October Post meeting our speaker was Betsy Braun, Fred Diedrich’s daughter, who gave us a report on the presentation of the French Legion of Merit to Fred, arising out of his combat jumps into Europe during WWII, which were covered in detail in the October newsletter. Fred’s “War Bride” Nancy also spoke briefly but eloquently on their meeting in England (Nancy, of course being an English girl) and Fred’s service from her point of view. We are honored to have veterans like Fred as our Post Comrades.
The business portion of the meeting focused on Veterans Day and Christmas Party planning. If you have yet to make a commitment to supply something to the Christmas Party on Saturday December 14, do so at the November meeting, or by email to the Commander. The party will begin at Noon, with dinner served around 1:00 PM.
Commander Gilliland announced the Post membership goals for the current Department wide drive, for which Post 8870 will need to recruit 10% of our current membership in new members during the current VFW year, as well as and or convert 10% to Life Membership.
by Mike Denton
The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors
by James D. Hornfischer
By sheer coincidence, your book reviewer read this fine book just before learning of the medal awarded to our own Amos Chapman, who’s ship USS Killen DD-593 took part in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, around which this book is written. (See Amos Chapman Awarded Medal)
Killen and other destroyers and cruisers destroyed much of the Japanese fleet attempting to thwart the landings at Leyte Island as they approached through Surigao Strait. Another group, comprised of escort carriers, destroyers and destroyer escorts, encountered a force of Japanese cruisers, destroyers and battleships, among them, the largest battleship ever built.
The entire battle, including the Surigao Strait engagement, took place over less than twenty four hours, but the impact of this stand on the part of the United States Navy cannot be overstated.
Edmonds resident and World War II veteran Amos Chapman Jr. recently received the Congressional Gold Medal for his participation in the U. S. Navy during war activities in the Philippines. The medal is the highest honor Congress can bestow on an American.
In a letter that accompanied the medal, Washington’s U.S. Senator Patty Murray lauded Chapman’s contributions, saying “You have demonstrated incredible dedication to our country, and your sacrifices will never be forgotten.” He was one of 28 veterans who received the award, 26 of whom are now deceased, at the event held Oct. 19 at the Mt. Tahoma High School Auditorium in Tacoma.
Amos, now 94 years old, is still an active member of Edmonds American Legion Post 66 and Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8870. The award was given to recognize his service along with his fellow Washington State Filipino and American World War II veterans, according to Murray’s letter.
Amos joined the Navy in May 1943, at the age of 17. He was assigned to serve aboard the Fletcher-Class destroyer, USS Killen, in the Pacific as a Fire Controller. His ship was engaged in the Battles for Leyte Gulf during which the ship was under constant attack by artillery, air and Kamikaze attacks.
When the Japanese Navy decided to contest the landings on Leyte, the Killen’s squadron engaged the enemy at Surigao Strait. On the morning of October 25, 1944, the USS Killen launched five torpedoes toward the Japanese battleship Yamashiro. One hit, slowing the Japanese ship to 5 knots, enabled other American destroyers to maneuver for the destruction of the Yamashiro.
Photo of Amos by Don Stapleton, Killen photo Navsource ships photos. Text adapted from MyEdmonds News.com
Post 8870 Teacher of the Year Chair Sara Brannan has announced the following educators as Post 8870 teachers of the year.
Ms. Bivins teaches 5th grade at Serene Lake Elementary School in Mukilteo, fostering the development of democratic principles. Her teaching supports learning about American history, civic responsibility, flag etiquette, traditions and Americanism by including lessons that promote learning through relevant and engaging activities not only for her students, but also for staff members and the school community.
Mrs. Roberts, of Cedarcrest Middle School in Marysville, teaches Social Studies to 6th & 7th grade students. For several years, Mrs. Roberts has requested Buddy Poppies from Post 8870 and has made a generous donation back to the Post from the distribution of Poppies during school assemblies. She has her students memorize Dr. Mc Crae’s poem “In Flanders Field” to teach them about WWI and the sacrifices made. In addition to the immediate students in her classroom, Mrs. Roberts has developed various programs for her school’s Veterans Day assemblies. She has a son currently on active service in the USAF.
Ms. Harber is a member of the faculty at Everett High School, where she teaches advanced Placement U.S. History to 11th grade students. In her classroom, she focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the principles that our country was created on. Another focus of her teaching of US History is the theme of national identity and pride in our country. In the past Ms. Harber has augmented her curriculum with trips to various sites that offer insight into our history, including The Flying heritage Museum and to a performance of the Broadway musical “Hamilton”. This year, she plans to visit Washington DC with a group of 20 students to visit our capitol.
An important part of our Veterans Day observances is the appearance of members at local schools, where veterans share their experience with the students and answer questions they may have in a variety of formats. Veterans In the Schools coordinator, Past Commander Jim Blossey, reports eighteen veterans visited the schools on behalf of our post, making a total of 28 appearances at 22 different schools. Below are listed the names of those participating and the number of visits made by each:
Bill Bengston (2)
Jim Blossey (5)
Duane Bowman (2)
Dick Cassutt (1)
Amos Chapman (1)
Terry Crabtree (1)
Mike Denton (2)
Dan Doyle (1)
Peter Farmer (2)
Norm Goldstein (1)
Jay Hansen (1)
Bill Keppler (1)
Carl Kurfess (1)
Michael Reagan (2)
Paul Russo (1)
John Shelton (2)
Jim Traner (1)
Don Whedon (1)
On Saturday, September 21, at the Edmonds American Legion Hall, Four World War II Veteran members of Edmonds VFW Post 8870 were each awarded an individually designed and personalized “Quilt of Honor”. In the photo below, are shown, L to R, Fred Deidrich, Amos Chapman, Buck Weaver and Norm Goldstein. These veterans range in age from 96 to 101 years, with Weaver being the senior. Shown with the Awardees are Gold Star Mothers Monica Mcneal and Lee Ann Prewitt Doerflinger.
At right, Commander Rose Gilliland, with Quilts of Valor Lead Marj Woody making the presentation
Quilts of Valor Foundation History
Quilts of Valor Foundation began in 2003 with a dream, literally a dream. Founder Catherine Roberts’ son Nat was deployed in Iraq. According to Catherine: The dream was as vivid as real life. “I saw a young man sitting on the side of his bed in the middle of the night, hunched over. The permeating feeling was one of utter despair. I could see his war demons clustered around, dragging him down into an emotional gutter. Then, as if viewing a movie, I saw him in the next scene wrapped in a quilt. His whole demeanor changed from one of despair to one of hope and well being. The quilt had made this dramatic change. The message of my dream was: Quilts = Healing”.