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.
It’s time for “Virtual” Poppy Drives
by Jim Blossey
“Would you wear a poppy in honor of our fallen comrades?”
Rain or shine, every Memorial Day weekend members of Edmonds Post 8870 of Veterans of Foreign Wars—combat veterans all—stand outside of area supermarkets offering passersby a small replica of a poppy and inviting them to wear it.
It is free; we never charge for it. we just want people to wear it as a way to let others know that they appreciate the sacrifices that have been made on their behalf.
Very often, people choose to leave a donation anyway. The Post uses the funds to support needy veterans in many ways: holiday gifts for residents of local veterans homes, temporary housing for families of hospitalized veterans, placing wreaths on veterans’ graves and many more.
And there’s the rub. With the Social Distancing prohibitions this year, our veterans can’t be out there. As a result, Memorial Day donations are likely to drop to zero and sadly our ability to continue to help worthy veterans will come to a halt, too.
Unless, that is, we can get folks to click over to the Post’s website at https://vfw8870.org and hit the donate button. It doesn’t have to be a lot; anything will help. It is amazing how quickly the dollars accrue. We will be running an ad with a link to our web page in MyEdmondsNews.com and perhaps some other local media in support of this effort. That ad is shown below.
Another way you can help is to share this message on your Facebook page, or with your email contacts. You can go to our page (click here) and share it to your friends and readers. Or just copy this message and post it. Everything you do helps us help those that did so much for us.
Matching funds available! Post member Ron Clyborne and his wife Michelle have committed to matching funds of up to $ 1,500.00. Early donors have the opportunity to double their contribution with the Clybornes’ generous offer.
While Memorial Day may yet seem way off on the horizon, it is actually just over two months away, so now is the time to start making preparations.
Jr. Vice Commander and Poppy Chair Duane Bowman has made arrangements for a presence at the Mill Creek Central Market once again. It has been a few years since we have been at that location, but it has always been very productive, as well as being a comfortable facility at which to distribute poppies. We would like have tables at each of three doors at that store.
We plan to distribute poppies at QFC on the Speedway in Mukilteo; QFC at Westgate in Edmonds, Fred Meyer on Alderwood Blvd & 164th and at Central Market in downtown Mill Creek. At both QFC stores and at Fred Meyer, we will staff two doors each and at Central Market, three doors. We will work Friday May 22 and Saturday May 23 with two shifts both days at all locations so we need to fill a total of 36 shifts.
We had intended to have sign up sheets at the March meeting to get us started, but with the meeting cancelled, we will obviously need to at least start our sign-up process on line. Hopefully, we will be able to meet together at the Legion Hall in April.
With the shift from West Lynnwood QFC to Central Market, there will be no need for anyone to be out in the rain. We will all be able to be under shelter. Obviously, if too many people sign up at one location, some of us will need to move, so be prepared to be flexible. There will certainly be some of us who are unable to participate fully, so If you can do more than one shift, or can bring spouse, offspring or friends to help, please do so. Contact Duane to let him know your preferences and with any questions: email@example.com. On line sign-ups will be made available as soon as possible.
For five straight years — since she was an 8th grader at Brier Terrace Middle School — Olivia Olson has been a fixture during Edmonds Memorial Day events and at VFW Post 8880 awards ceremonies. Her first speech in 2014 came as the winner of 8870’s Patriot’s Pen essay contest for middle schoolers. That was followed by four more winning speeches — one for each year of high school — in the Voice of Democracy contest for high school students. Olivia is known for memorizing her speeches and using no notes when she addresses the crowd. She has also been the winner in VFW District 1 Voice of Democracy competetion.
Awarded the Fred M. Apgar scholarship, she will attend the University of Southern California in the fall of 2018.
One of the most important days of the year both from a fund raising standpoint and recognition of our fallen comrades, is Memorial Day. A time to remember all of our fallen brothers sisters of all wars.
If you have yet to sign up to help with poppy distribution, please do so at the April Post meeting, or by email to Bob Crawford or Commander Denton. We have four locations to staff: QFC Westgate in Edmonds, QFC Speedway in Mukilteo, Fred Meyer in North Lynnwood and Central Market in Miil Creek. This year all locations will operate on Friday and Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.
On Memorial Day itself, Monday, May 28, we will gather at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery for our usual Flag ceremony and at which time we will especially honor our fallen from the recent conflicts in the Persian Gulf region and all who have died in post 9/11 service.
Buddy Poppy Distribution
Memorial Day poppy distribution will occur on Memorial Day weekend May 26-28 at Edmonds Way and Mukilteo QFC stores, Fred Meyer at 164th & Alderwood Mall Blvd. and at Central market in Mill Creek. Poppy coordinators Bob Crawford and Jim Mc Cann will be taking sign ups for Friday and Saturday shifts, plus Sunday shifts at Central Market in Mill Creek only. Please participate. This is the major fund raiser which allows the post to support veterans and our community projects. The more people we have on hand, the more poppies we hand out and the more money we collect to benefit our Veterans. Besides, it’s fun!
At below is John McCrae’s poem ”In Flanders Fields”; the source of the poppy as the object of remembrance for the fallen.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Fallen Heroes, World War II Veterans Honored
On May 25, Edmonds Community College hosted its Memorial Day Ceremony, at the Black Box Theater on the College campus. The event was planned by a distinguished committee headed by Chris Szarek, USN Retired, Veterans Resource Center Director at the college.
Our own Post Commander Jim Blossey acted as Master of Ceremonies for the event, which featured “A Time to Remember” slide show featuring images and stories of fallen members of the families of College students, faculty and staff. Music was provided by the EdCC voice class, under the leadership of Linda Kappus and by Kyle Gaul (son of Post 8870 member Charlie Gaul on bagpipe.
Gold Star Mother Monica McNeal was on hand to introduce the keynote speaker, RaeLynn Ricarte, author of “Living the Oath: Warriors Take It, Families Endure it”. The book explores the wartime experiences and the post war aftermath of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. Her topic explored the origins of the book through her experience as the mother of a combat Marine, centered around the idea “Be an American Worth Dying for”.
Following the ceremonies at the Black Box, all present processed to the campus “Boots to Books” monument, where colors were presented, followed by presentation of the “Soldier’s Cross” and the laying of a wreath. The ceremonies concluded with the playing of “Amazing Grace” by Kyle Gaul on bagpipe and “Taps” by Post 1040 bugler Glenn Ledbetter.
Mark your calendar for two special Memorial Day events coming up in May.
Edmonds Community College will have a program at 10:30 AM on Wednesday
May 25, at the college’s Black Box Theater. This year they will be remembering WWII veterans and urge all our WWII veterans to attend and be honored. Other members of our post will also be playing a role in the various ceremonies. Commander Blossey has agreed to be the master of ceremonies.
The Edmonds Memorial Cemetery will be having their 34th annual Memorial
Day Ceremony on Memorial Day itself, Monday, May 30, at 11:00 AM. This
year—as in years past—Post 8870 will be presenting the colors, raising the flag, narrating the White Table Ceremony and other prominent duties. Our Voice of Democracy winner will read her winning essay. All post members are asked to attend.
We will have further details about both events in future newsletters, but for now, please mark your calendars and set the time aside to attend them both.
Our own Col Buck Weaver was the honored guest at this year’s Memorial Day ceremony at the Edmonds Cemetery. This year’s theme was VJ Day. Fred Apgar described the origin and meaning of the White Table, now a fixture in every veterans’ organization banquet and meeting place.
Finally, Amos Chapman and Neal Goldstein read the list of names and rang the ship’s bell for those Snohomish County residents who were killed in the Pacific Theatre in WWII. I estimate there were approximately 300 hardy souls at the ceremony who braved a slightly chilly day.
I’ll get on my soap box for a bit. At the store where I handed out Buddy Poppies, there was a sign on the door saying wine was on sale in memory of heroes. Huh? Now I like that store and they treat VFW very well allowing us to hand out Poppies twice a year at two of their locations. However, I puzzled over that sign for two days. Somehow, Memorial Day has simply become a BBQ day for far too many Americans. My XO from Vietnam, Lt. M, and I still exchange emails now and then. Typically, it is Veterans Day, 4th of July, Memorial Day, or a day in December that no one would pay any particular attention to other than those who were there, On that particular day in 1968, we lost a number of our mutual friends. So when Lt. M sends me an email saying he hopes my Memorial Day was OK, I know exactly what he is talking about and it is not about the wine on sale or the BBQ. We all have those particular days that pass and we stop and think about an event that happened on that day many years ago and, in doing so, we keep alive those who have gone before us. Memorial Day is the day that combines all those “particular days” and when the Lt. and I are long gone and no one thinks twice about that day in December 1968, hopefully those attending some future Memorial Day ceremony will think about those young men, not in the abstract, but as individuals who gave the rest of their lives in defense of our Country.
Memorial Day-Edmonds Cemetery—form up at 11:45 for Flag presentation