Author Archive: Editor

Our 2020-21 Student Essay Themes

Applications & Deadlines Our annual student essay contests will need to be promulgated to teachers and students as soon as schools are back in session, in order to allow time to meet the deadline of October 31 for submission to the post. Following are the themes for the 2020-21 school years. Applications, in the form of fillable PDF documents are available at this link:

Youth Essay

Youth Essay Grades 3,4 &5 
Theme: “What is Patriotism to Me? 

Patriot's Pen

Patriots Pen Grades 6,7 & 8 
Theme: “Why American Veterans should be honored”

Voice of Democracy

Voice of Democracy Grades 9-12 Theme: “Is this the Country the Founders Envisioned?” 

VFW National Citizenship Education Teacher Award

Grades K-12 

VFW wants to identify and recognize America’s best educators who instill a sense of national pride in students. It offers cash awards, commemorative plaques and all-expenses-paid trips to the VFW National Convention for these worthy teachers. The trip provides an opportunity for winners to network with likeminded individuals. 

As with the student essay contests, the deadline for applications to be submitted to Posts for Teacher of the Year is October 31. Anyone can nominate a teacher they believe to be deserving, so reach out to friends and family for suitable nominees. 

From the Bookshelf

by Mike Denton 

Sea Stories by William H. McRaven

Admiral William H. McRaven is a part of American military history, having been involved in some of the most famous missions in recent memory, including the capture of Saddam Hussein, the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, and the raid to kill Osama bin Laden. 

“Sea Stories” is an unforgettable look back on one man’s incredible life, from childhood days sneaking into high-security military sites to a day job of hunting terrorists and rescuing hostages. 

Action-packed, humorous, and full of valuable life lessons like those exemplified in McRaven’s bestselling Make Your Bed, Sea Stories is a remarkable memoir from one of America’s most accomplished leaders. 

Volunteers needed for Back-to-School Brigade 2020

Commander Rose Gilliland has announced the post will participate in this “Operation Home Front” program, sponsored by Dollar Stores in our area. Each store is collecting donations of “Back to School” supplies which are to be distributed to needy military families for the new school year. Post 8870 has two such stores in our area, one in Edmonds at the Aurora Marketplace on Hwy 99, the other in Mukilteo, further north on Highway 99. 

Our role in the project is to pick up the donated items (pencils, rulers,erasers, binders, etc.) from the stores and then sort them into packages for individual students, which we will do at the Legion Hall. Scheduling and sign ups will be handled over the Post meeting on Zoom on Wednesday July 15. If you can’t make the virtual meeting but wish to participate, email to let the Commander know of your interest. Further information will also be sent out via email. 

More information on this program can be found at Id=3260

POW Trivia: The M1911A1 .45 caliber Semi-automatic Pistol

by Sr Vice Commander Carl Kurfess 

POW Trivia: The M1911A1 .45 caliber Semi-automatic Pistol

The M1911 is a single-action, semiautomatic, magazine-fed, recoiloperated pistol chambered for the .45 ACP cartridge. It served as the standardissue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. It was first used in later stages of the Philippine–American War, and was widely used in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The U.S. procured around 2.7 million M1911 and M1911A1 pistols in military contracts during its service life. The M1911 was replaced by the 9mm Beretta M9 pistol as the standard U.S. sidearm in October 1986, but due to its popularity among users, it has not been completely phased out. Modernized derivative variants of the M1911 are still in use by some units of the U.S. Army Special Forces, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. 

POW Trivia: The M1911A1 .45 caliber Semi-automatic Pistol

American units fighting Moro guerrillas during the Philippine–American War using the then-standard Colt M1892 revolver, .38 Long Colt, found it to be unsuitable for the rigors of jungle warfare, particularly in terms of stopping power, as the Moros had high battle morale and often used drugs to inhibit the sensation of pain. The U.S. Army briefly reverted to using the M1873 single-action revolver in .45 Colt caliber, which had been standard during the late 19th century; the heavier bullet was found to be more effective against charging tribesmen. The problems prompted further testing for a new service pistol and following trials conducted from 1904 to 1911 Colt pistol was formally adopted by the Army on March 29, 1911, when it was designated Model of 1911, later changed to Model 1911, in 1917, and then M1911, in the mid-1920s. Battlefield experience in WW I led to some more small external changes, completed in 1924. (Thanks for this trip down memory lane Carl. The M1911 happens to be your editor’s favorite side arm.)

Memorial Day Poppy Drive Results

Memorial Day Poppy Drive Results

Not our usual, but a good effort 

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.

Mike Reagan Offers Portrait Sale

to supplement Virtual Poppy Drive 

Mike Reagan Offers Portrait Sale

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:// 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.

May “Virtual” Post Meeting

 Virtual VFW Post Meeting

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. 

Changes Coming to Heros Cafe

Due to Gov Inslee’s Stay at home direction and social distancing proclamations, we must cancel our May, June and July Hero’s Cafe gathering. 

We will let you know when our next Hero’s Cafe, Got Your 6, and the newly organized and ready to go Shoreline Hero’s Cafe will have their in person veterans and veterans supporters gathering. 

  • When luncheons are resumed, Hero’s Cafe will gather at the New Life Church Fellowship Hall, 6519 188th St SW, Lynnwood, WA 98037. 
  • The new Got Your Six gatherings will be held at the Edmonds Food Bank at the Edmonds United Methodist Church, 828 Casper St, Edmonds, 98020. 
  • The inaugural opening of the Shoreline Hero’s Cafe at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 1207 N 152nd St, Shoreline 98133 will be announced as available. 

June 6, 2020 marks the 76th Anniversary of D-Day

D-Day 76th Anniversary

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.

D-Day 76th Anniversary

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. 

D-Day 76th Anniversary
The Two Freds at a Post meeting some years past.