Newsletter Articles

We’re Back!

We're back

Remember This Place? 

Yes, we’re back. After more than an year of COVID quarantine, we will once again be meeting at the Edmonds American Legion Hall. We are still in the phase of needing to keep the hall at 50 percent capacity, but do not anticipate a problem, since our regular Post meetings rarely approach that number of attendees. 

We expect members attending in person to be masked and to maintain social distancing. We are not yet able to serve meals again, so plan on supper before or after the meeting. 

If you are not yet vaccinated, or just not comfortable attending in person, to sign in to participate via Zoom. (A link will be sent to your email) The Post has invested in new equipment to better facilitate that option and we expect to continue to provide it going forward. We look forward to seeing all of our comrades once again. 

We have one very important item of business on the agenda for this meeting; the annual election of Post Officers. The current officers have proposed a slate of officers for the coming year, which is shown on the following page and, of course nominations from the floor will be accepted. 

If you are interested in serving in any of these positions, you may place your own name in nomination. Please do not nominate anyone else unless you have obtained that person’s permission to do so in advance. If you wish to serve in an appointed position, there may be some currently listed who would be interested in a relief. See the new Commander after elections if you would like to offer your services.

VFW Post 8870 Proposed 2021-2022 Officers 

Commander: Carl F. Kurfess 
(425) 776-1656 | Commander@vfw8870.org 

Sr. Vice Commander: Duane Bowman 
(425) 281-6720 | dvbow@comcast.net 

Jr. Vice Commander: Rose Gilliland 
(206) 818-1434 | Roseag67@gmail.com 

Quartermaster: Dennis L Peterson 
(425) 772-3404 | Quartermaster@VFW8870.org 

Adjutant appointed: Nathan WorSnger 
(425) 743-4319 | nworSnger@hotmail.com 

Service Officer appointed: Alden Gilliland 
(206) 818-7789 | ServiceOfficer@VFW8870.org 

Surgeon appointed: Jay Hansen 
(425) 315-9025 | Surgeon@VFW8870.org 

Chaplain: Dan Doyle 
(425) 773-2400 | Chaplain@vfw8870.org 

Judge Advocate appointed: Jim Traner 
(425) 218-0101 | jtraner@tranersmith.com 

Officer of the Day: Jim Traner
(425) 218-0101 | jtraner@tranersmith.com 

Guard appointed: John Shelton
(206) 546-5476 

1st Year Trustee: Kerry Watkins 
(425) 478-9739 | kerryjwatkins@hotmail.com

2nd Year Trustee: Donald Stapleton 
(425) 743-4435 | rosemarydon@comcast.net 

3rd Year Trustee: Mike Denton 
(425) 280-3757 | Mikedenton44@gmail.com 

VFW Post 8870 Proposed 2021-2022 Officers

The photo above is of the swearing in ceremony of the 2018-19 officers at the May 2018 Post meeting. A reminder of the both the job at hand and how we normally do things. Let us all look forward to doing it this way again, rather than virtually. 

News from VFW National

Complete the VFW’s 2021 COVID-19 Health Survey

Complete the VFW’s 2021 COVID-19 Health Survey: Last April the VFW tallied responses to our COVID-19 survey and used that data to advocate for veterans with Congress and VA. The VFW has developed a follow-up survey to evaluate your health care experiences, how your health care may have changed in the last 6 months, and your perceptions of your overall physical and mental health over the past 30 days. Your feedback is vital to our advocacy efforts and to compile a report on this important topic. Help the VFW hold VA and Congress accountable by taking this short survey regarding your experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take the survey: (enter this address in your browser) https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/86196/covid-19-vaccine-questions-answered-need/ 

Sign Up For COVID-19 Vaccine at VA

Sign Up For COVID-19 Vaccine at VA: Veterans, spouses, caregivers, or CHAMPVA recipients need to sign up to let VA know you would like to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Once signed up, you will be contacted by VA as soon as a vaccine is available for you. Be advised that availability will differ by location. VA encourages everyone to take the first opportunity you have to receive the vaccine. (Whether from VA or state and local providers) 

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

National Vietnam War Veterans Day

March 29 is set aside to honor the men and women who served and sacrificed during the longest conflict in United States history. Involving five U.S. presidents, and over five million American service men & women, it left an indelible mark on the American psyche. This year we were not able to gather for an observance of the occasion that means so much to such a large group of Post 8870 members, but we remember it here and remember to tell these veterans they are “Welcome Home”

Memorial Day Planning

It appears that the Memorial Day events at the Edmonds Cemetery will not be held again this year due to the ongoing pandemic. The Post will conduct its own small ceremony at the Edmonds Veterans Plaza on Monday, May 31, so mark that event on your calendar. Check next month’s edition of this newsletter for more detailed information.

Memorial Day Planning

Military Trivia

Military Trivia

by Carl Kurfess 

Shavetail 

Inexperienced person. 

Mules have irksome and painful qualities, so those that ran the mule-trains of the mid-19th century American army would shave off the tail of any new mule as a warning to others that its behavior might be unpredictable. It was not long before the troops were using the term for any newcomer. By the time of the Spanish-American war of 1898, “Shavetail” had become specific to describe a newly commissioned lieutenant. 

Works cited: Donald, G., Wiest, A., & Shepherd, W. (2013). Sticklers, Sideburns and Bikinis: The military origins of everyday words and phrases. Bloomsbury Publishing. 

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)