Newsletter Articles

Memorial Day at the Edmonds Cemetery 

The traditional Memorial Day observance at the Edmonds Cemetery drew an estimated 200 attendees. “The Edmonds Cemetery is the final resting place to approximately 600 veterans dating back to the Civil War,” began Cemetery Board Member Jerry Janacek as he welcomed attendees. Janacek’s remarks were followed by a presentation of the colors by members of the Edmonds VFW Post 8870, the Pledge of Allegiance led by a contingent of Girl Scouts, singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by David Little, and a bagpipe rendition of “Grand Old Flag” by piper Jan Begg. 

Memorial Day at the Edmonds Cemetery

In his invocation, Pastor Barry Crane of Edmonds’ North Sound Church reminded attendees that “though we come from many races and religion, we are all Americans, and we realize that freedom is not free.” Crane was followed by the North Sound Singers under the direction of Allan Skoog singing “America the Beautiful.” 

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson spoke briefly, noting that Arlington National Cemetery was created in the wake of the Civil War, a war that saw “the greatest loss of life of any of America’s armed conflicts.” 

Keynote speaker was Monica McNeal, president of American Gold Star Mothers for Washington, Alaska and Oregon, a group of mothers who lost a son or daughter while in service to their country. Monica spoke about the loss of her son, Lance Cpl. Eric Levi Ward, killed in action in Afghanistan on Feb. 21, 2010. 

Memorial Day at the Edmonds Cemetery

Since then, she has dedicated herself to honoring Eric’s service and that of others who continue to serve. Eric now rests in Arlington National Cemetery. “The true cost of war is not the trillions of dollars, but in young lives like Eric’s,” she concluded. “Some gave all; all gave some. God bless America.” 

Memorial Day at the Edmonds Cemetery

McNeal was followed by Mike Denton of VFW Post 8870, with the missing man table ceremony in memory of those who remain missing in action. Next was the ship’s bell ceremony officiated by VFW Post 8870 Commander Carl Kurfess, who read off the names of Snohomish County service members who died in Iran and Afghanistan. Kurfess was assisted by Vietnam veteran John Shelton, who rang the bell as each name was read. 

The ceremonies ended with “God Bless America” by the North Sound Singers, the benediction by Pastor Barry Crane, taps and a rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. 

Memorial Day at the Edmonds Cemetery
Navy Lt. Lisa Nenno, who served as a trauma nurse was moved by the ceremonies. 

Excerpted from story & photos by Larry Vogel, MyEdmondsNews 

Memorial Day at Edmonds Veterans Plaza 

Local veterans gathered at Edmonds’ Veterans Plaza Monday afternoon to honor their fallen comrades in a short ceremony. 

Ron Clyborne, a Vietnam veteran, spoke about the efforts to create the memorial plaza dedicated to veterans, starting with a vision nine years ago followed by planning, fundraising and construction. Edmonds’ Veterans Plaza officially opened on Memorial Day 2017. 

In her remarks, Edmonds City Council President and U.S. Air Force veteran Vivian Olson pointed to the myriad heroes giving back to Edmonds every day through arts, charities and service. She also spoke about the fragility of democracy, underscored by the current conflict in Ukraine. 

Edmonds Mayor Mike Nelson offered thanks to those attending for their service. 

At the end of the event, Vietnam veterans Mike Reagan — founder of the Fallen Heroes Project — and Duane Bowman distributed pins to families of those veterans whose loved ones came home from Vietnam, and buttons to those Vietnam vets who served when called to duty. 

Edmonds Kind of 4th

Edmonds Kind of 4th

The annual “Edmonds Kind of 4th” Parade returns this year and with it the VFW/American Legion picnic/barbecue following. Transportation will be available for veterans who are unable to walk the parade route and we are looking for a big turnout for this event. 

We will meet at 6th & Bell in downtown Edmonds at 11:30am to form up for the parade which starts at 12:00 noon. The parade follows its usual route through downtown Edmonds. We will again hand out small flags along the way. 

Following the parade, at 1:00pm we will gather at the Legion Hall for our picnic. The Posts will provide hot dogs and hamburgers, and we ask members attending to bring a side dish/potluck item to share. 

Please notify Commander Carl of what you will provide for the picnic, so we know what to expect. ( Hopefully, many of you will have signed up at the Post meeting on Wednesday June 15. 

Edmonds Kind of 4th

Following are items needed: 

  • Fried Chicken 25 Cheese 69 slices 
  • Sliced & diced onions enough for 60 burgers 
  • Tomatoes, lettuce enough for 60 burgers 
  • Catsup, mustard, relish & mayo 1 large container of each 
  • Pickles 
  • Green Salads w/dressing x4 to serve 10 ea 
  • Potato Salad x4 to serve 10 ea 
  • Ice 4 bags 
  • Chips x2 2 large bags 
  • Cookies 
  • Pies 
  • Regular Coke/Pepsi/ Dr Pepper 2 doz 
  • Napkins 100 
  • Plastic spoons, knives, forks 100 
  • Paper Plates 100

Important Events Coming up!

The busy month of May

Important Events Coming up! The busy month of May

Our calendar is a busy one for the Memorial Day weekend period. We begin, of course, with our semi-annual Buddy Poppy distribution at our local grocery stores, which will begin on the morning of Friday, May 27 and proceed through Saturday, May 28. We could certainly use more of you to participate. It is this simple, the more poppies we hand out, the more money we bring in for our Veterans Relief Fund. It is a very rewarding experience, with lots of folks expressing their gratitude and recognizing our service, so come out and help. If you can’t give us a full day, work half a day. If half a day is not possible, come for a couple of hours. (We will have rain shelter at all locations) 

Important Events Coming up! The busy month of May

On Memorial Day itself, (Monday May 30) we need a few hands to move flags for the ceremonies at the cemetery and the Veterans Plaza. Please meet at the Legion Hall at 8:30 if you can help with that duty. 

We should meet at the Edmonds Memorial Cemetery at 10:30 for the 11:00am ceremonies there and will then move on to the Edmonds Veterans Plaza for a short observance at that location, to begin at 1:00pm 

Wear your cover and join us to remember our fallen comrades. 

VFW Conducts Flag Ceremony at Senior Center Ribbon Cutting 

VFW Conducts Flag Ceremony at Senior Center Ribbon Cutting

On Thursday, May 12, members of The VFW Honor Guard were joined by Commander Carl Kurfess, Past Commander Mike Denton and Post member Charlie Gaul to conduct the initial flag ceremony at the ribbon cutting ceremonies of the Edmonds Waterfront Center, on Railroad Ave. You may recall that the flagpole was fundeed by our Post, two other veterans organizations and some individual donations. It is dedicated to honor all veterans. 

The Honor Guard members present included our own Surgeon, Bryan Rowe and post member Gerald Burton, as well as one other from Lynnwood. 

Prior to the posting of the colors, bagpiper Patrick Downing set the mood with his rendition of America the Beautiful. (We are assured that the National Anthem is just not possible on bagpipe!) 

May Post Meeting 

The Post meeting of May 18 will be preceded by a dinner at 5pm, featuring lasagna!

The meeting will start at 6pm as usual. We will have our Freedom scholarship winners present to be recognized and the business meeting to follow will feature the annual installation of post officers for the coming 2022-23 VFW Year. Memorial Day observance plans will also be on the agenda. 

Post Election Report 

Commander: Carl Kurfess 

Sr. Vice Commander: Duane Bowman 

Jr. Vice Commander: Rose Gilliland 

Quartermaster: Cal Barnard 

Chaplain: Dan Doyle 

1st Year Trustee: Kerry Watkins 

2nd year Trustee: Don Stapleton 

3rd year Trustee: Mike Denton 

Appointed by the Commander 

Adjutant: Nathan Wortinger 

Service Officer: Alden Gilliland 

Judge Advocate: Jim Traner 

Surgeon: Bryan Rowe 

Freedom Scholarship Winners 

Post 8870 sponsors the Freedom Scholarship for deserving seniors who will be enrolling full time in an accredited vocational, technical school, college or university in the fall semester and who have parents and/or grandparents who are US military veterans. The $ 1500 scholarship shall be paid directly to the student’s school account to help defray tuition costs, fees and expenses. 

On the following pages, you will find the students’ essays which were submitted with their applications. 

Hazel Warner Meadowdale H.S. Freedom Scholarship Winner

Hazel Warner 

Meadowdale H.S. Freedom Scholarship Winner 

Ms. Warner plans to enroll at either the University of Washington, or The University of California Berkeley 

Hazel Warner Meadowdale H.S. Freedom Scholarship Winner

Christiana Burkhalter Kamiak H.S. Freedom Scholarship Winner

Christiana Burkhalter 

Kamiak H.S. Freedom Scholarship Winner 

Ms. Burkhalter will enroll at Washington State University 

Christiana Burkhalter Kamiak H.S. Freedom Scholarship Winner

From the Book Shelf 

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation By Joseph J. Ellis

by Fred Apgar 

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation 
By Joseph J. Ellis 

The 1790’s were the most decisive decade in American history, and a collection of the greatest American statesmen came together to define our republic and direct its course through what would prove to be turbulent times. Their presence and participation in our fledgling government held the country together until a national identity was established and a new social and political order took root. 

Ellis provides readers with insight into the intertwining lives of seven of our founding fathers; Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington through a discussion of six critical episodes in our nation’s history. Thoroughly researched, the book provides a lively narrative of events during the 1790’s and beyond. 

The book includes, among other topics, a lengthy discussion of the debate of our founding fathers regarding the issue of slavery. Ultimately, the failure to reach a compromise on that issue, left it for future generations. 


with thanks to Carl Kurfess 

By the time of World War II, American servicemen were consuming 32.5 pounds of coffee per capita, per year, with the Army Quartermaster Corps going so far as to roast, grind, vacuum pack and ship its own beans overseas. Meanwhile, legend has it that when soldiers in Italy encountered espresso, they watered it down to make a concoction similar to the coffee they drank at home. There are many competing accounts, but some people surmise that these were the humble beginnings of the drink we now know as an “Americano.” 

In Vietnam, soldiers and Marines would burn C4 explosive to make their coffee in the jungle. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army and Air Force Exchange System (AAFES) had Green Beans coffee stands so servicemen and women could get their espresso and Frappuccino fix. 

and then, there’s Navy coffee: 

and then, there’s Navy coffee

March Post Meeting

March Post Meeting

No speaker having been scheduled for the March meeting, Commander Kurfess went straight to our business meeting. Aside from the usual officers reports, during which everything was reported to be in order, considerable time was devoted to planning for Buddy Poppy distribution for Memorial Day, as well as our participation in the Memorial Day observance at the cemetery (we are also planning a brief event at the Veterans Plaza, after the Cemetery ceremonies) We also briefly discussed logistics for resuming our participation in the “Edmonds Kind of 4th” celebration. 

We were pleasantly surprised to find Past Commander Fred Apgar attending in person and as you can see from the photo, Fred was kind enough to fill the Jr Vice Commander Chair for Past Commander Rose Gilliland who was unable to attend. 

Despite living now in Savannah, GA, Fred frequently attends our Post meetings via Zoom, regularly contributes book reviews of interest to this newsletter and in many ways is a more active member than some local residents. 

Always good to see you, Sir! 

In Memoriam

Scott L. Johnson

Scott L. Johnson

Our Charter will be draped for our comrade, 8870 member Scott Johnson. Scott was born on June 2, 1944 to Larry and Barbara (Bryson) Johnson. He graduated from John Muir High School in 1962. Scott went on to serve in the Navy as a Seaman on the USS Forster, DER334 during the Vietnam War and was a decorated veteran. He went on to receive degrees from San Diego State University and a JD from Southwestern Law School. While he practiced law for the rest of his career, his passion was in real estate development and he was a successful businessman. 

USS Forster DER 334
USS Forster, DER 334

On February 12, 1972, Scott married the love of his life, Kay Knuppel. They raised three children, Kelly, Christine and Brian, in Corralitos, California after moving from Los Angeles. Scott and Kay also lived in Las Vegas, Nevada for several years and then moved to Edmonds, Washington in their retirement.