World War I Exhibit Comes to the Museum of Flight

If you didn’t see it, it’s gone.  However, I thought I would share with you a fascinating exhibit that came to town.  I had a chance to run down to Boeing Field to the Museum of Flight on a recent Sunday afternoon.  I had read an article that an exhibit about WWI was being held on the tarmac in front of the museum.  Although small (held in a very large semi-truck that could be moved from location to location), the exhibit was excellent.  Somehow in a very few words and pictures, the introductory film unraveled the tangle of politics and alliances that brought about the first world war and clearly explained how an assignation in a small country would lead to millions dying.  While it exhibited the usual uniforms, etc. it concentrated on the small items that soldiers carried and also how the wounded were treated, as well as the dead.  For instance, following the war, the government sent Gold Star mothers to Europe to visit their son’s graves.  WWI is becoming a forgotten war.  It is a shame.  What the soldiers had to endure and casualties that were incurred were horrific.  An entire generation of young men died.  While the US brought home a number of their KIA’s (the Brits didn’t), one of the cemeteries US soldiers are buried in is Flanders Field.   A thought to remember when you are handing out Poppies in a few days.

The Chaplain’s Corner — Rock Roth

While flying off the carrier, we use to ‘kid’ the other pilots asking if they did not return could we have their stereo set or something of similar importance.  This comment was brought on by youth and the idea that each thought he was invincible.  When someone did not return, we rationalized that person’s death by saying to ourselves, “That could never happen to me.  Old…… just screwed-up.”  However, with each passing year and the passing of close friends and family, each of us comes to the realization that we are human and that means there is no way out of this world except through death!  Each of us, at his or her appointed time and place, will face death.  I strongly believe, a living hope, that I and others who believe in Our Lord, will not face death alone; that there is everlasting life after ‘crossing the bar’.

During the last couple of weeks, we lost two members of our Post – Charles Siljig, a Korean War Vet, and Kenneth Pearl, a Vietnam Vet.  Our Post sent cards to the families of these our fellow Comrades in arms who have gone to be with their Lord.

The Order for the Burial of the Dead opens with the following:

I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me, shall never die.  I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though this body be destroyed, yet shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger.

We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.  The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!

As members of VFW Post 8870, what each of us can do is to rededicate ourselves to our Nation – to our fellow veterans, our community, and especially our youth:  the next generation – so each remembers that our government “of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.  If those words sound familiar, they should.  They are borrowed from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.  Each of us should live everyday as if it were our last, doing good, and helping our fellow man.  Because today just may be our last!

The Last Word

We lost some good members last month as our Chaplain pointed out in his column.  It is always difficult to lose friends.  About the same time, a young state politician died unexpectedly leaving behind a wife and two small children.  From reading the article, he seemed like a nice guy and was an ethical and hardworking individual with a bright future.   The governor declared that all the government flags be flown at half mast and asked that everyone fly their flags at half mast on that particular day.  I have no problem with that request, but we had two members who served in two different conflicts, Korea and Vietnam, who passed and no flags will be flown at half mast in their memory nor would either I suspect, if they could speak for themselves, would want the flags lowered to half mast.  Soldiers simply go about their duty protecting and defending America, and those that come home move on with life.  But I notice that when I read the obits how many are shown wearing their uniforms from a past war; a last time to wear it in public.  So Chuck and Ken didn’t have a flag flown at half mast since neither was a politician, but we members of VFW draped our Charter in black and remembered them and their service to our country.

Post Observes 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Post Observes 10th Anniversary of 9/11

The 10th anniversary of 9/11 was remembered by our Post by distributing American Flags and commemorative Poppies (a black ribbon attached to the poppy) at the Edmonds Classic Auto Show.  Unlike other Poppy distributions, we had no donation can as we simply wanted to remember the 2,977 victims of the terrorist attacks 10 years ago.  As we all know, life continues on as demonstrated by the many hundreds or perhaps thousands who attended the car show.  I am sure that everyone in attendance at the show realized the significance of the day, but our Post, in handing out the Poppies and flags, wanted to make sure they had something tangible to remember that we will never forget.  Thanks to the Post members who volunteered their time on a hot Sunday day to help the Post out on this project.  And particular thanks to Jr. Vice Ron Clyborne who happens to be the head of the Chamber of Commerce and secured a spot for us in the Chamber tent, which was located strategically at 5th and Main.

National VFW Convention

As Post Commander, I attended the convention in San Antonio.   This is the third convention I’ve attended and I am finally getting a pulse on the National VFW organization.  While there are a lot of speeches (this year sounded like I was attending the Republican Party Convention with Rick Perry and Mitt Romney making partisan speeches), there is only one agenda item that concerns you directly as a member of VFW, the proposed amendments to National By-Laws, and Manual of Procedure.  There are a couple of amendments that I would like to pass on that were brought to the floor for vote after much discussion.  The first was changing the timing of member dues.  Dues are currently based on calendar year with the bills going out in July in order for everyone to be paid up by December.  Now, dues will be for a full 12 months based on the actual month the member paid.  The Quartermaster now will have members with memberships expiring throughout the year.  I felt this was an awkward way to track dues, but it was passed.  Another change affecting Posts are that Post Officers will now be elected in May.  With the National Convention being moved to July and Department’s convention in June, this is going to put the time squeeze on Posts that meet late in the month so installation of officers may now take place at the same meeting of the voting.  One of the most controversial proposed amendments which did not pass was to have a study of allowing males to join the Ladies Auxiliary (which would become the Auxiliary).  The men allowed to join would be the spouses or sons of female VFW members.  As of now, only female family members of male VFW members are allowed to join the Ladies Auxiliary.  While voted down this year, this is an amendment that will continue to come up in the future.  The final proposed amendment I wanted to discuss came from the Washington Department and District One was to have VFW support the reinstatement of the draft to minimize the multiple deployments now being required of our service members.  A Senior Vice Commander from Hawaii opposed the resolution saying that draftees made poor service members.  I will have to remember to tell that to the draftees who were on my track in Nam, particularly the MBA from NYU.  Also, nothing was mentioned about the sky-rocketing suicide rate which is the result of multiple deployments.

Support the Hometown Heroes Raffle

The Washington Department of Veterans Affairs is sponsoring a raffle in conjunction with the Washington State Lottery.  The proceeds will go to provide financial assistance to soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan through the Veterans Innovations Program.  Tickets are $10 and the proceeds of every ticket sold directly benefits soldiers and their families.  I would normally not support gambling in this newsletter,   however, since I never win anything, I look at my $10 ticket as a contribution to help out our young soldiers returning home.

VFW Protocol

We have had a number of new members in the recent months, so I thought I would pass along some of the protocol that will make those of you unfamiliar with VFW feel a tad more comfortable while attending meetings.  Hopefully, this doesn’t come across as being dogmatic, but only as observing the traditions of those veterans who have come before us.  As VFW is an organization comprised of veterans, its structure is loosely based on military protocol.  First, during meals, caps will not be worn.  Actually, my mother taught me that one.  During prayers by the chaplain, members will remove their caps only if the chaplain removes his.  If the chaplain remains covered, so should the members.  If uncovered during a prayer, the hat should be placed on the extended closed fingers of the right hand in such a way that the Cross of Malta is exposed and over the heart.  Only official hats may be worn in a meeting.  If you forget your VFW cap, the Quartermaster may have a spare you can borrow, or you may simply remained uncovered for the meeting.  As far as gavel code is concerned, two raps means stand and one rap means sit.  Pretty straight forward.  The military salute shall be given in all ceremonials or meetings when a member wishes to address the commander or presiding officer.  I hope that this quick lesson in protocol is taken in the correct vein, to make a new member feel more comfortable and integrate more quickly into the VFW.

Teacher of the Year Candidates

We are currently looking for teachers for our annual Teacher of the Year award.  If you know anyone that teaches in grades 1-5, 6-8, or 9-12 and teaches patriotism and would be a good VFW Post candidate, please let Fred Apgar know.  The teacher doesn’t have to be from our area as long as we are the only Post who sponsors them.

Signup to Participate in Post’s Speaker Bureau

Our Post has become very active in participating in Veterans Day activities at various schools in the Edmonds School District as well as the Mukilteo School District.  Rock Roth maintains a list of those Post members who would like to participate in classrooms or assemblies.  Rock’s email address is  and please indicate where you feel comfortable participating i.e., speaking to a classroom, an entire assembly, or none of the above—just there to show the flag.  In the past, our members have received as much as they have given and everyone has enjoyed the interaction with the young students so please contact Rock if you are interested.