Adapt and Overcome, pandemic or no, that’s what we do.
As we discussed at the May Post meeting and also in our last newsletter, we were not able to conduct our usual Memorial Day “Buddy Poppy” drive at the local supermarkets and instead ran a “virtual” drive via internet and social media. Supporters were asked via Facebook, MyEdmondsNews and the Beacon newspapers to donate on line through a link provided in print ads and articles. We very much appreciate the support of our local press and the efforts of members to spread the word on social media. The result is a total of over $ 8,000 for our Relief Fund as we go to press. No doubt we are all looking forward to getting out in public again on Veterans Day. In the meantime, we are considering an interim drive to fill in the shortage.
Our resident portrait artist Mike Reagan has offered to produce four custom portraits, to be sketched from photographs provided as a supplemental fund raiser to benefit the Post 8870 relief fund. He will do four single, one person portraits. The cost is $500.00 apiece and they will be unframed. Once purchased, the buyer pays VFW in full, the person then has one year to have the art done. As we all know, Reagan, an active member of VFW Post 8870, is the artist behind the Fallen Heroes Project, for which he has produced well over 6,000 portraits of our comrades who were lost in action. You can contact Reagan directly, https:// www.fallenheroesproject.org/ or your editor will be happy to put you in touch. Mike supplied this portrait, one of many he has done for celebrities over the years, as an example of his work.
Once again, our May Post meeting we held as an online affair, via Zoom. We very much appreciate the efforts of Past Commander Jim Traner in setting up these online sessions.
As you all may recall, we began putting our in-person meeting on the Zoom platform for the benefit of some of our “Snow Birds” (think Quartermaster Dennis Peterson) and other Post members who live out of the area, are ill or otherwise unable to attend. Past Commander Fred Apgar has once again been a regular attendee via that platform.
The public portion of the meeting included honoring our one teacher of the year who had been unable to attend the February meeting with the rest of the teachers and student essay winners. Julie Bivens, Who teaches at Serene Lake Elementary in Mukilteo, joined us online to be awarded her certificate and check, which were sent to her by mail. Congratulations Julie! We regret not having a photo. Your editor has since figured out how to grab images off the Zoom session, so we should be able to correct that in future.
Code named Operation Overlord, the invasion of a 50 mile stretch of Normandy beaches was conducted by almost 160,000 courageous American, British, and Canadian warriors.
Past Commander Fred Apgar recently reminded us via a Facebook post of the participation of one of our own Post 8870 comrades in the DDay action 76 years ago.
Fred Diedrich was assigned to the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (Red Devil’s), part of the 82nd Airborne Division, who jumped behind the lines in Normandy the night before the landings to capture the town of Sainte- Mere Eglise, secure crossings at the Merderet River laFiere and Chef-du-Pont, and to establish a defensive line along the river crossings.
We have told Fred’s story in detail in recent prior editions of this newsletter, which you can find on the Post website, but it seemed important to mention his role again on this anniversary month of those events, as we approach Diedrich’s 97th birthday.
Mike Reagan recently finished this portrait of Buck Weaver, showing him from a photo in recent years and in the cockpit of his P-39 in the South Pacific. Buck’s war history was shared recently following his death.
Project Iceworm was the code name for a top-secret United States Army program during the Cold War to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet. The ultimate objective of placing medium-range missiles under the ice — close enough to strike targets within the Soviet Union — was kept secret from the Danish government. To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicized “cover” project, known as Camp Century, was launched in 1960. Unsteady ice conditions within the ice sheet caused the project to be canceled in 1966.
The “official purpose” of Camp Century, as explained by the United States Department of Defense to Danish government officials in 1960, was to test various construction techniques under Arctic conditions, explore practical problems with a semimobile nuclear reactor, as well as supporting scientific experiments on the icecap. A total of 21 trenches were cut and covered with arched roofs within which prefabricated buildings were erected. With a total length of 3,000 meters (1.9 mi), these tunnels also contained a hospital, a shop, a theater and a church. The total number of inhabitants was around 200. From 1960 until 1963 the electricity supply was provided by means of the world’s first mobile/portable nuclear reactor, designated the PM-2A and designed by Alco for the U.S. Army. Water was supplied by melting glaciers and tested to determine whether germs such as the plague were present.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars stands for equality, inclusivity and diversity. No matter race, gender, age, religion or sexual orientation, it is our duty as an organization to advocate for our employees, members, fellow veterans, service members and military families who may face systematic injustices. We owe this to every man and woman who dedicated their lives to selflessly defending our great nation, and in fact, every American who should reap the equal benefits of their service. As a nation, we should all be outraged and heartbroken over the tragic and senseless loss of human life. America must live up to its ideals and the fundamental truth that all human beings are created equal. The only way this can be accomplished is for our nation to continue its work to strive for the unity of all people with different backgrounds into a single nation of equal justice
“Would you wear a poppy in honor of our fallen
Rain or shine, every Memorial Day weekend members of Edmonds
Post 8870 of Veterans of Foreign Wars—combat veterans
all—stand outside of area supermarkets offering passersby a small
replica of a poppy and inviting them to wear it.
It is free; we never charge for it. we just want people to wear
it as a way to let others know that they appreciate the sacrifices that
have been made on their behalf.
Very often, people choose to leave a donation anyway. The Post
uses the funds to support needy veterans in many ways: holiday gifts for
residents of local veterans homes, temporary housing for families of
hospitalized veterans, placing wreaths on veterans’ graves and many more.
And there’s the rub. With the Social Distancing prohibitions this
year, our veterans can’t be out there. As a result, Memorial Day
donations are likely to drop to zero and sadly our ability to continue to
help worthy veterans will come to a halt, too.
Unless, that is, we can get folks to click over to the Post’s website at https://vfw8870.org and hit the donate button. It doesn’t have to be a lot; anything will help. It is amazing how quickly the dollars accrue. We will be running an ad with a link to our web page in MyEdmondsNews.com and perhaps some other local media in support of this effort. That ad is shown below.
Another way you can help is to share this message on your Facebook page, or with your email contacts. You can go to our page (click here) and share it to your friends and readers. Or just copy this message and post it. Everything you do helps us help those that did so much for us.
Matching funds available! Post member Ron
Clyborne and his wife Michelle have committed to matching funds of up to $
1,500.00. Early donors have the opportunity to double their contribution
with the Clybornes’ generous offer.
On May 2, 22020, our nation and our Post lost one of its great
American heroes. Robert “Buck” Weaver passed away at the age of 101, Buck
left a legacy of being a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, respected
member of the community, and friend. I join my comrades of VFW Post #8870 in
extending our heartfelt condolences to Buck’s family.
Buck Weaver was born in 1918 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the
fourth child in a family with two brothers and a sister. Buck was active
in sports in high school and graduated 1936. Since jobs were scarce in
those days, Buck enlisted in the Ohio National Guard Cavalry. Buck
pursued a pre-dental program at the University of Cincinnati but his plans
to become a dentist were placed on hold when with the start of WW II.
In September 1941, he was sworn into the Army Air Corps and reported for
primary training at Grider Field in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. A month
later, Buck soloed in the PT-19A trainer and completed the pilot
training program in April 1942, earning his wings.
After flying anti-submarine missions off the coast of California for
six months, Buck transitioned into the P-39. Upon completion of the
program in September 1943, Buck found himself on a troop ship on his way
to New Guinea. Buck and the other members of the 41st Fighter Squadron would be
flying bomber escort, dive bombing, and combat air patrol missions in the
South Pacific in support of the “island hopping campaign”. After the war,
Buck left the Army Air Corps to return to his dental studies, earning
his DDS four years later. He returned to active duty status in what
had then become the Air Force and served in the Dental Corps for the next
25 years. In 1975, Buck retired from the Air Force with the rank of
Buck was preceded in death by his loving wife, Bettina. They
had moved to Edmonds in 1996, to be near their four children and their
grandchildren and great grandchildren. Buck will be sorely missed.