News

January Post Meeting

January Post Meeting

The meeting began via “Zoom” online with our usual opening ceremonies and the draping of the charter in memory of departed comrades Rene Blumenfeld and Bob Crawford. Detailed obituaries appeared for both in earlier editions of this newsletter when we learned of their passing late in 2020. We have lost two brothers who were active members of the Post. 

The first order of business was to introduce distinguished guests including District Senior Vice Commander Drew James, shown sitting in front of the flag in the center of the above screen shot. Sr. Vice James is also running for Department Surgeon and used the occasion to ask for our votes. A very active VFW member, James is a veteran of Afghanistan operations with the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. 

Our other distinguished guests were our winners for the several categories of the 2020-21 VFW Youth Essay contest. 

Essay Winners

Voice of Democracy essay winner

Josie Bigger, Sammamish High School First Place, Voice of Democracy 

Josie Bigger, an 18 year old Senior at Sammamish High School, pictured at left, read her winning Voice of Democracy essay for the assembled membership. It appears below in its entirety. 

Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned? 

The preamble to the Constitution states: “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Written in 1787, this is the vision our fathers had for the newborn country. The great spirit which had inspired men and women to shake free the bonds of oppression and subjection to England rose again, this time to cast a new vision for the country, to propel it forward to become a nation indivisible, under God and unlike anything the world had ever seen. 

America stands on the pillars of freedom and equality; the irrefutable truth that all men are created equal. While this was the vision the founding fathers wrote into the Constitution, the culture and atmosphere of the time prohibited this from becoming a reality. Despite obstacles and hardships, the flame of the American spirit has been carried by brave and diverse people throughout generations, and the truths written in the Constitution have become real, and America is now the most diverse, free and equal country in the world. However, some freedoms which the constitution defends, like speech and press are being threatened by a new wave of oppression. Media companies are inhibiting the propagation of real journalism and are consistently silencing voices opposing mainstream ideas. Politics have infiltrated everything from social media to the clothes you wear. The new age of workers and identity politics its not the the vision our fathers had. The intolerance of opposing ideas is not the vision our fathers had. The division, separation and hatred for America is not the vision our fathers had. 

Despite our shortcomings and failure to fully realize our fathers’ vision, the great American spirit continues to live on and strive for what it was born to achieve: freedom, equality, prosperity, liberty private property, social mobility, checks and balances, the list goes on. This country is like no other, where you can come from any part of the world and find freedom and the ability to make a better life. America is a country which rewards hard work and perseverance and upholds human rights and freedoms unlike any other nation. This is the vision our fathers had and that we as Americans should strive to create and uphold for ourselves and the communities around us. 

I am a proud possessor of that American spirit. The spirit which rests in the great American Dream, which promises all a better future and a brighter hope. I love America and I thank from the bottom of my heart every single individual at the VFW, those still serving and those who have given their lives for this great nation. 


Marius Hill, Edmonds Heights, K-12, took 2nd place in Voice of Democracy

Marius is a senior at Edmonds Heights K-12 School, our Edmonds School District unit charged with support of home school students. 

Is This the Country the Founders Envisioned? 

There are many people who think that the Founders of America would be disgusted, sad, disappointed, and/or don’t believe that this was how the country came to be. Other people say that they should be proud of how we still have a mostly stable government and that it kept the rules and laws made way back then. What my answer would be towards this question would be that they would have mixed feelings, because, we’ve become such a powerful country with a mostly stable democratic government, so the founders should be proud of that. But I think what they would be disappointed about is the fact, that back then, everyone had their own opinion but they would team up for the greater good of the government where as today people are real sticklers and really reject each other’s opinions. 

How did money and taxes work back then compared to now? So back then, there was no federal tax, but every state had their own different types of tax. The tax back then was incredibly low, after working for about ten hours you would be able to pay off all of your taxes. But now taxes are so high, that the world’s richest man alive could only pay one-fifth of America’s total debt of about ten trillion dollars. So, in America, the money is a really big issue and a lot of people think that too, the money in general isn’t the problem, it’s the taxes. 

Is the Bill of Rights still effective to this day? The Bill of Rights contains the first ten amendments, three of them are some of the most important: the right to bear arms, the freedom of speech, and religious freedom. These are very important to this day, but as of today people have abused and trampled over these three amendments because of one-another’s different opinions. What I want to say about the Bill of Rights is that it is extremely important to have these amendments. 

What could we do to improve our countries government? What I think we should do to improve our country, is that we could lower the taxes as it is too high for American’s to pay and that it might solve problems with homelessness. What other people say we should improve in the country Is that the government should fix the education system because there are many students constantly being under pressure and/or in a lot of stress and that schools should include all different types of people such as black and white people. To solve the problem with stressed students, we should make it so learning would be more fun such as more hands-on activities. 

What would the founders of America be proud of us for? I bet that they would be proud of the fact that we still have an exceptionally strong government and that we have become a beacon of freedom and that we are a very powerful country. Other people say that the founders would be proud of us because of our status in the world and how we stand against Communist countries such as China and Russia. Another thing the founders would be proud of us for would be the freeways and roads that we built to travel across the country, because traveling back then was really hard to do. 

What would the founders of America be disappointed in us for? My reason why the founders of America would be disappointed in us would be because that we care so much about our own opinions that there are constant protesting’s and riots if they didn’t get their way, an example would be the disputes between democrats and republicans. Many other people say that we’ve become Socialistic, which means that we have a system of society or group living in which there is no private property. People now are constantly fighting over one another’s different opinions, the founders would be  disgusted about this because during their time, the sperate groups would sometimes unite for the greater good of the country. 

Our Government is constantly changing. There have been many up and downs such as laws that either go really well or were so bad that it didn’t even last a whole day. There have been good and bad presidents, some that think they’re doing something good for the country but it ends up not being so good, and/or sometimes messing up on accident. But what really matters is that our country still has a stable government and there will continually be bumps down the road. 


1st Place, Patriot’s Pen

Ashton Fairchild, Grade 6, Harbor Point Middle School 1st Place, Patriot’s Pen 

What is Patriotism to Me?

Veterans have worked tirelessly to protect our country and rights. Without all the work they have done, we would not have the freedom we have today. 

Patriotism to me means freedom to do what I like. Being able to shop at a grocery store with a large selection of foo is only because veterans once fought in was, defending our rights and freedom. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have a president or equal rights. Adults can choose their job and not be forced to work without pay. Patriotism to me also means freedom of speech, so that I can say what I want. Veterans fought in war to provide us the freedom we have today. If war starts, they will defend no matter what for all the things we love. They fight for liberty and freedom, no matter what cost. 

If veterans had let other countries win at war, we might be living somewhere else, with slavery and no clean water. If they didn’t fight around the clock tirelessly, none of this would exist. We could be living in slavery if it wasn’t for the people who fought against other countries to defend our freedom, rights and liberty. If they let their guard down, we would probably not be here right now. We have clean water, good housing and free food all because of them. 

We only have these freedoms because of veterans who fought until they felt like they couldn’t, but still carried on, even in the darkest of times. when nobody else was there to fight, veterans always came. When they thought that they couldn’t win they persevered. They sometimes didn’t sleep for days, making sure no war could take away our justice. They fought for days to protect our people. They would save America at all costs, even if it felt like it would be nearly impossible. Veterans have worked tirelessly to protect our country and we should honor and appreciate them. There is no way to put into words how much effort they put into defending our country and rights. 


Avery Fairchild, Picnic Point Elementary School, 1st Place Youth Essay

Why Veterans Should be Honored 

If you have ever read the newspaper or watched the news, you have probably heard of the election. Do you know why we have an election or how we get to vote in our country unlike countries with kings and queens.? Well it is all because of veterans. They fought for our right to vote. They fought for all kinds of things. When things weren’t right or were unjust, veterans tried to defend the people and bring in new laws. So Many people in the Army, Navy, Air force, Marines and Coast Guard fight for justice, we will be grateful of what they do for us. Would you wan tho do what they do? It’s not easy work. They risked heir lives for many things and this is a few: Freedom of speech, voting, freedom to do what you want. Like have a job you actually like and go anywhere you like. But, they sacrificed a lot for those things. They had to fight in a war for years and be away from home in a foreign land you’ve never been to. Like the Vietnam war, across the world from where I live. They had to go where they’ve never been, also a place where people wanted to kill them. It wasn’t an incredible trip either. I’m not even talking about the war – I’m talking about the food and a place to stay. they had MREs (meals ready to eat ) and built their own tents to stay at. So it wasn’t so luxurious, but it helped our country greatly and look at us now. We’re a free country. So, since this is the end of the paper, this is the last thing I have to say: 

THANK YOU VETERANS! 

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Kiosk Up & Running

It has been quite a challenge getting the information kiosk at the plaza going, but we seem to be at a point where it is now really useful to visitors. Everyone is encouaged to visit the plaza and check out the content of the kiosk. If you have yet to submit details for any pavers, benches, or other items you have purchased to honor a veteran, please see the instructions for doing so, which are repeated later in this newsletter. 

Further planned improvements to the Plaza include building a roof over the kiosk and adding a statue, possibly in the form of a human handler adjacent to the service dog statue, located at the east end of the plaza. Generous donors have already provided funding for these projects which are now pending design and city approval. 

[See the web version of the Kiosk: http://tribute-kiosk-software.com/edmonds/]

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Kiosk Up & running
Edmonds Veterans Plaza Kiosk Up & running

Map of Edmonds Veterans Plaza layout – Click to enlarge

Edmonds Veterans Plaza Kiosk Up & running

Example of an individual page

Instructions to submit Veterans Plaza Kiosk Data 

If you have purchased any of the several types of memorial spaces in the plaza for either yourself or other veterans, living or deceased, please select one of the Forms below and use its link to enter requested data for each honoree.

You are welcome to complete one of the forms below, or send the veterans’ information and photos to evpkiosk@gmail.com. Also use the same email to correct the existing information on the kiosk. See the form below for what types of information we can use. Although ideal, it doesn’t have to be complete. Please use this format and save the committee the effort of following up with you individually! 

Please select one of the Forms below and use its link. 

Form A: For those who have a Google account**. Only Google account holders can upload photos directly from the form. Prepare the photos (Read Photo Specification*) and start the form below. —> https://forms.gle/HXNLN8AoGuJWtW4G7 

Form B: For those who do not wish to have a Google account. We will send a separate email requesting photos later. Please go ahead and fill the form below. —> https://forms.gle/1iqMkSoaPUHfzo8H9 

Either way, you will be requested (but not required) to provide up to 2 photos.

*Photo specification: Ideally optimized for 400w X 500h in pixels at 72 DPI and JPG (.jpg) format is preferred (up to 10 MB per photo in size allowed). You may want to start preparing them before you start filling the form. If you do not know how to do this, do not worry but go ahead and upload photos as they are.

** To create free Google account: (If you use Gmail or Google Calendar, you already have a Google account.) You can create it by visiting: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/56256?hl=en) 

An Update from Heroes Cafe

  • Thank you again for all of you that supported the food and personal care drive, the Dessert Drive-through on Veterans Day 2020, and most recently the Cold Weather Clothing drive earlier this month. (December) Your donations of time and product improved the quality of life of many veterans and civilians in need throughout Snohomish County. I still have some coats, sweatshirts, long sleeve undershirts, scarves, socks, hats, shirts, and gloves that need a home. Please tell me about a veteran you know who is in need. 
  • As always, provided personal information is kept in the strictest confidence. 
  • I highly recommend you check out the site https://myneighbornewsnetwork.com/. This newsletter provides great information in the Lynnwood, Edmonds, and Mountlake Terrace areas. In the 29 Jan Lynnwood edition, there is an article offering free legal assistance through the Sanders Law Group, Edmonds. I have been asked by many veterans about legal support. The following is the article: 
    • Free Legal Services Offered 3 Feb: The Sanders Law Group and the Edmonds Waterfront Center are continuing to offer a free legal clinic for seniors every month in 2021. It’s your chance to ask your burning legal questions, at no charge.This popular monthly clinic features 15-minute individual appointments with an elder law attorney. Due to the pandemic, consultations are only offered via phone call. The clinic runs from 1-3 p.m. Space is limited. Call ahead to the Edmonds Waterfront (Senior) Center for reservations: 425-774-5555. You will be assigned a time, and asked to provide your phone number. 

Thanks again and we can not wait to have our first gathering of 2021. 

Gary Walderman, Retired USAF Veteran 

From the Bookshelf

The Cruse of the PC 477

by Mike Denton

Aboard a patrol boat in World War II, chasing Japanese subs 

In 1942, Art Bell was a twenty-three-year old ensign in the U.S. Navy, assigned to duty aboard the PC 477. The PCs were 173-foot, steel-hulled submarine fighters. Uncle Sam had thousands of seamen on hundreds of PCs convoying and patrolling in WWII. They were introduced in the desperate, early days of the war, when the waters off America’s Atlantic coast were a graveyard of torpedoed ships. They performed essential, hazardous, and sometimes spectacular missions, yet the PCs were scarcely known at all outside the service. 

Here is the story of the wartime service of one of those ships, taking the PC 477 from the Gulf Coast, through the Panama Canal and on across the South Pacific to the Solomons campaign and beyond. 

The book was originally self published by Bell and is written as a memoir of his wartime experience.

2021 Happy New Year

2021 Happy New Year

This rather subdued “Happy New Year” graphic seems to reflect the mood going into 2021, with the pandemic ongoing and so many of our friends and family experiencing medical and financial challenges. 

There isn’t a lot to report from the holidays. We certainly hope everyone was able to enjoy a pleasant, Covid safe holiday season. We did, of course have our little Zoom party over cocktails, in lieu of our usual Post meeting and that proved a pleasant time with a pretty fair turnout. Hopefully, we will be able to make up for it with a real bang up July 4th party after an honest to goodness downtown parade this summer. 

Christmas Toy Drive – Covid Style

Christmas Toy Drive - Covid Style
Chaplain Doyle with Teri Soelter, store owner 

The Christmas toy drive partnership between Edmonds VFW Post 8870 and Teri’s Toybox in downtown Edmonds was a resounding success. Coordinated by Post Chaplain Dan Doyle, approximately $2,500 worth of toys were purchased at the toy shop and donated — all of which were distributed to children of families in need. 

In the past, the VFW has collected toys for distribution to children of families in need during its annual VFW/ Legion Christmas party. When that party was canceled this year due to COVID, Post Chaplain Doyle contacted Teri’s Toybox owner Teri Soelter and arranged to place a box in the store marked for VFW’s Toy drive. Store patrons enthusiastcally purchased and donated, making it a win-win for kids in need and for this local business. 

Fred & Nancy Diedrich 75 Years Together

by Fred Apgar 

On October 22nd, 2020, Fred Diedrich, a WWII Army paratrooper and his British born wife, Nancy, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. Following his participation in the DDay Invasion, Fred returned to England and met a young English girl named Nancy Stanley. Nancy and her family had experienced the war’s fury first hand during the numerous German bombing raids that took place from 1940 and into early 1942. including a bomb exploding near their home, causing substantial damage. Fred and Nancy dated, and they took a liking to each other. In September 1944, Fred and his unit were sent back into combat, participating in Operation Market Garden and then the Battle of the Bulge. By April 1945, the war in Europe was over, and Fred was serving in an Honor Guard unit in Berlin. 

During that time Nancy had faithfully written letters to him. Since they had very little time together in England, theirs was a romance by mail. In one of his letters, Fred proposed marriage, and her immediate response was a resounding “yes”. Since Fred had been scheduled for a furlough, the wedding was planned for October 22, 1945. However, Fred’s furlough was cancelled, and he received orders to return to the United States. 

Nancy knew that “doing nothing” was not an option so she wrote a letter to the Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, Major General James Gavin, addressed to him “Somewhere in Europe”. Shortly thereafter, Fred was summoned to General Gavin’s Headquarters in Berlin. The General held up a letter and asked Fred, “Corporal Diedrich, do you know Nancy Stanley?”. Fred, nervous facing a two star general, hesitated and finally replied, “Yes, Sir.” The Commander then asked, “Do you want to marry her?” to which Fred replied in the affirmative. General Gavin told Fred he couldn’t grant Fred a special furlough, but he would be sending Fred on a special errand to England. Fred soon found himself on General Gavin’s plane on his way to England. Hitching a ride in a mail truck, Fred arrived at Nancy’s home, and the wedding took place as scheduled. After a brief honeymoon, Fred returned to Berlin on General Gavin’s plane. Within days, he was on a troop ship headed home leaving his new bride behind. Seven months later, on May 2, 1946, the newlyweds were reunited. Nancy had sailed to America on the Queen Mary with over 2000 other war brides and more than 900 babies. After a cross country train ride that deposited the English war brides and their babies in towns and cities all across America, Nancy, and two other brides, finally arrived on the west coast to join their husbands. 

From the Bookshelf: More on “They were Soldiers”

Book Review: They were Soldiers

Chapter 8: Mike Reagan 

In the last issue of this newsletter, we published a brief review of Joseph Galloway’s recent book, “They Were Soldiers”, a follow-on to his earlier “They Were Soldiers Once – and Young” in which Galloway tracks his earlier subject’s post war lives, including their careers and their challenges in dealing with leaving the war in Vietnam. It is a well written book, some of which may be difficult reading for combat veterans, for that matter it isn’t easy to read period, but it tells a great story of some great Americans and is well worth your time. 

The book is divided into four parts covering quasi related career paths of these veterans. Part One is called “Artists and Professionals” and the reason for this follow-on article is Chapter 8, titled Michael Reagan… yes, that Reagan, our very own Marine artist in residence. 

Most of us in Post 8870 have heard Mike tell the story of how Vincent Santaniello died in his arms in Vietnam in 1968, the event that lives in him every day and is the inspiration for his ongoing Fallen Heroes Project, which, last we heard, had produced in the neighborhood of 7,000 portraits of those heroes for their loved ones. Galloway describes Mike’s return home from the war, the path he took to his long career at the University of Washington, and on into “retirement” and this second career that is his daily life and that has proven his salvation. 

Mike Reagan

Read Mike’s story for yourself. (Oh, and the rest of them too) Makes us proud to call him friend and comrade. 

Members in the News

Norm Goldstein appears in Times Article. 

Members in the News

We were pleasantly surprised to find Norm Goldstein (at right) appearing in a photo in the Seattle times sports section recently. The article reported on the passing of Gary Seefried, noted Seattle basketball coach, of Covid. The photo was taken at Basketball Legends Dinner attended by both men. 

Norm is a Navy veteran of WWII and retired as Vice principal of Mountlake Terrace H.S. in 1980 after a long career teaching and coaching basketball, there and at Ballard H.S.