Tag Archive: Veterans Day

From the Commander’s Desk 

  1. Watch the weather. It is Autumn now and it will be getting colder and wetter. Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen, don’t be out in the sun too long (while it lasts). 
  2. The Sergeant First Class (SFC) Heath Robinson Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. This is a new law that expands VA health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances. It is relevant to Vietnam era Veterans. You can find more information at the following links: 
  1. Consider signing a Veterans Day card for a fellow Veteran. See the link below. The VFW has a special way for you to show our brothers and sisters they’re appreciated as we head toward Veterans Day. The VFW will be sending cards and we want to make sure a fellow veteran receives one from you. We know how much you care, so please sign a card for a hospitalized veteran or service member (at this link) and brighten their day. 
  2. Speaking of Veterans Day, this year it will be Friday, November 11th. We are planning a ceremony at our Edmonds Veterans Plaza at 11am. Our keynote speaker will be Mike Schindler of Operation Military Family. Pins, and a display from the Northwest Veterans Museum will be there. 

We will be be handing out Buddy poppies on Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5 at three stores: 1) QFC Westgate, 2) QFC Mukilteo, and 3) Town & Country Market in Mill Creek. As always, we need volunteers. Please attend our October 19th Post meeting for a chance to signup. 

Veterans Day Buddy Poppies 

Veterans Day Buddy Poppies

Buddy Poppy Chair and Sr. Vice Commander Duane Bowman wants you all to know that we will be distributing Buddy Poppies and raising money for our Relief Fund in advance of Veterans Day which is closing in on us fast! 

Veterans Day Buddy Poppies

We will be at three stores again this year, including QFC Westgate in Edmonds, QFC Speedway in Mukilteo and Town & Country Market in Mill Creek. These three locations have always been our best producing stores. 

The dates will be November 4th and 5th. We will operate from 1100 to 1800 on Friday, Nov. 4th and 1030 to 1800 on Saturday the 5th. Members, are urged to sign up for as much time as they can spare and encouraged to bring spouses and other family members and friends to help. If you can’t handle a full shift, come and do what you can!

Sign up forms will be available at the September and October Post meeting. We encourage everyone. 

Veterans Day Buddy Poppies

After a two year absence, members of VFW Post 8870 distributed Buddy Poppies at three store locations: QFC Westgate in Edmonds, QFC Speedway in Mukilteo and Town & Country Market in Mill Creek on Friday & Saturday, November 5-6. 

We were well received at all three locations, though participation by the membership was light and we could have used another two dozen or more volunteers spread among the three locations and include a fourth store that was available to us. 

Our efforts produced a total of $ 11,815 of which $ 4,654 came from Mukilteo, $ 3,621 from Mill Creek and $ 3,540 out of Edmonds. (Plus a bottle of wine to be auctioned at the Post meeting) 

A good result, all things considered, though it leaves us about $ 4,000 below our hoped for Relief Fund Budget for the coming year. 

Perhaps some of you may be able to make a special donation of your own, to help us make up the shortfall from our Veterans Day outing, especially those of you who were unable to participate on November 5 & 6, or were simply not yet comfortable with being out in the public to that extent. A few dollars here and there could make all the difference. Meanwhile, we hope to see you all at the November Post meeting.

John Shelton 
Les Abel 
Dan Doyle 
Carl Kurfess 
Al & Jo Boyett 
Charlie Gaul 
Rose & Alden Gilliland 
Herb Bender 
Dick Harsin 
Robert Little
Jim & Terry Traner 
Nathan Wortinger 
Duane Bowman 
Mike & Linda Denton 
Calvin Barnard 
Jim & Linda Blossey 
Robert Low 
Dan White 
Bill Fox 
Parnia Parvini

This stalwart group of 24 individuals staffed two tables at each of three stores in four shifts over the two days! 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Commander Gilliland

More than 350 veterans, families, kids and well-wishers overflowed onto the sidewalks surrounding the Edmonds Veterans Plaza Monday afternoon, all drawn by one purpose — to honor, remember and connect with our military veterans. 

Dan Doyle, VFW Post 8870 Chaplain, gave an emotional invocation that crystalized in a few words the meaning of the day. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Chaplain Doyle

“We’re here today to honor those who at some point in their lives signed a blank check to give, up to even their lives, in service to you,” he said, “so that you and we all could enjoy the liberties, peace and privileges of this nation.” 

Emcee Rose Gilliland, VFW Post 8870 Commander, then took over: “I feel like I’m sitting in a living history today,” she began. “I’m surrounded by veterans who have lived it, breathed it and done it.” She went on to call on attendees from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom (the War on Terror) to be recognized. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Rep. Peterson speaking

Keynote speaker was State Representative Strom Peterson, who recalled how the Edmonds Veterans Plaza got its start during his tenure serving on the Edmonds City Council. “It was about five years ago that a core group of organizers put their energies together to turn this area into a special place to honor veterans,” he said. “With dogged determination, this core group provided the energy and inspiration to accomplish this in record time.” Peterson went on to stress the key role of the plaza in providing a place to make connections.“For those who did not have the opportunity to serve, it’s a place to connect with and learn from those who did,” he explained. “For veterans like Michael Reagan who walks by my house every day on his daily pilgrimage to the plaza, it’s a place to make connections with his friends, some of whom didn’t make it back. And for all of us, it’s a place to remember what it means to serve our country and our community.” 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
Clara Jennings, WWII Marine veteran turns 100 in January

Jim Traner then announced the names of those honored with newly placed pavers in the plaza: 

Ron Pajoman, Navy 1960-1965
Chuck Smith, Army 1963-1999
Patrick Marker, Marines 1944-1946; 1950-1951
John, Gregg and Kim Sharp, Marines, Navy and Navy respectively (single paver) 
Beau Crabtree, Army 1991-2001
Donald Stapleton, Air Force, 1957-1978
William Cobb, Marine 1966-1968 
Edward Johnson, Navy 1942-1946 
Paul Hauck, Army 1944-1946; 1947-1963 
Jim Roy Harrison, Navy 1942-1945 
Jack Oharah, Navy 1962-1966 
Jeffrey James Curtis, Marines, 1966-1967 

Gold Star Mother Monica McNeal was on hand to present a Vietnam War 50-year commemorative pin to Vietnam veterans who had not previously received one. The program closed with Mike Denton leading attendees in a chorus of “God Bless America”. 

Veterans Day in the Plaza 2019
8 year old John Wyatt examines military memorabilia.

Veterans in the Schools

Eleven Members of Edmonds VFW Post 8870 participated in the Veterans in the Schools project in the run up to Veterans Day.

Jim Blossey kicked off the week by acting as Master of Ceremonies at the Edmonds Community College Veterans Day event, held on Wednesday November 7. The program featured recognition of the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending World War I. There were several other Post members in attendance.

Veterans in the Schools

Jim Traner spoke at Serene Lake Elementary, Mukilteo

Dan Doyle and John Shelton were interviewed by students at Edmonds Elementary School, Jim Traner spoke at Serene Lake Elementary in Mukilteo, Jim Blossey at Westgate Elementary, Chris Mazerolle, Olivia Park Elementary and Mike Denton at Holy Rosary School. Carl Kurfess, Norm Goldstein, Pete Farmer and Phil Sacks formed a committee of interviewees at Meadowdale Middle School. Mike Reagan spoke at at two Kamiak sessions. (Reagan also spoke at several other non-school venues over the past week)

Fewer schools Participated this year. Oothers signed up to speak, but that we were unable to book include:

Tom Hallums
Phil Sacks
Buck Weaver
Jim Adams
Duane Bowman
Paul Russo
Don Whedon
Charlie Gaul
Terry Crabtree

Many thanks to all who volunteered.

The Commander’s Corner

Buddy Poppies 

Post 8870 members have good reason to be proud of their efforts distributing “Buddy Poppies” over the Veterans Day weekend. Pretty much all of our active members who are physically able to participate did so. The result is a healthy boost to our Relief Fund and a great deal of community exposure for the post. I can’t speak for everyone, but I really enjoy meeting people and hearing their stories of their own or their families’ service. It wasn’t always comfortable weather wise, but we hung in there and got the job done.

Our thanks to Past Commander Jim Traner for reaching out to the DAV leadership and making arrangements to avoid conflicts next year. And thank you all for your hard work.


More Poppy Kudos 

On Monday, the Veterans Day observed holiday, I received a call from a teacher at Cedarcrest Elementary School in Marysville who was looking for some poppies for their student assembly to be held on Tuesday Nov 13. It seems that several years ago, Past Commander Fred Apgar had made some poppies available to them and they were out of stock.

The teacher had approached two other VFW Posts (who shall remain nameless) who she said were unable to help her and she found her way to me through Fred. It was already late in the day and my wife had the car, but I told her I had a bag of around 100 poppies in the car if we could find a way to get them to her. This teacher drove all the way down from Marysville to my home in north Lynnwood to pick the poppies up for her school’s event the following day. She also brought a check for the Relief Fund in the amount of $ 50.00 and invited us to speak at her school next year. Thank you, Fred, for helping to make the Post what it is today.

Veterans Day “Buddy Poppies”

Veterans Day Buddy PoppiesA number of our comrades signed up to distribute Poppies on Friday and Saturday, November 9 & 10 at the September Post meeting.

Those of us participating in the “Veterans in the Schools” program will need to coordinate our school presentations with our Poppy schedule to avoid conflict.

Sign up sheets will again be available at the Post meeting on October 18.

All of our Veterans Day Events are extremely rewarding to participants. Please join us.

Reflecting on the “War to End All Wars”

By Dan Doyle

Reflecting on the War to End All WarsOn August 4, 1914, Germany invaded Belgium to begin one of the most devastating wars in human history. By the end of that war, more than 15 million were dead from 28 different countries. Millions more were wounded. It was the first war that could truly be called a world war, with fronts in Europe, in the Middle East and Ottoman Empire, and in Africa. Some of the battles that would become famous in that war, like the Battle of the Somme, witnessed such carnage that the human mind could not comprehend it without teetering on the edge of insanity.

Countless veterans would come home from suffering the effects of wounds caused by weapons that were used for the first time in history: the tank, the machine gun, aerial bombing, and gas/chemical warfare. Tens of thousands came home suffering from psychological wounds so profound that the medical profession could only name the phenomenon with the language of poetic metaphor: shell shock.

The war raged across the world for four long years, leaving death and destruction in in its wake. It would finally come to an end not so much from clear victories as from the sheer exhaustion of the populations of Europe, no doubt aided by the entry of the United States in 1917. The Russian government would collapse in March of 1917 and the Bolshevik Revolution would begin in November of that year. On November 4, 1918, the Austro-Hungarian empire agreed to an armistice.

Revolution was rumbling in Germany as well, and Germany finally signed an armistice on November 11, 1918. We still celebrate that event to this day, now called Veterans Day. At the end of the war the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, both of which had reigned for centuries, no longer existed.

Veterans in the Schools For Veterans Day

Past Commander Jim Blossey is now scheduling volunteers to participate in our annual Veterans Day in the Schools program. Participation ranges from simple attendance to be “saluted” by the students, to question and answer sessions in classroom settings to speaking to student assemblies. Your editor has participated in all three types and found them all gratifying.

Photos: Post 8870 members John Koenig, Terry Crabtree and Dan
White, appearing the schools on prior Veterans Days.

In recent years we have had more demand from the schools than we have been able to fulfill, so your participation will be appreciated.

Veterans day is invariably a school holiday, so most of these programs are held the preceding week, generally late in the week, with the most popular day being the Friday before the holiday.

If you are able to participate, please email Comrade Blossey at jamesblossey@comcast.net. He will schedule everyone and let you know where and when you are expected.

Veterans Day at our Schools

Post 8870 member Dan White visited classrooms at Odyssey ES

Post 8870 member Dan White visited classrooms at Odyssey ES

Twenty-Six members of Post 8870 participated in Veterans Day school visits this year at all grade levels. Dick Simmons provided the following description of his visit to Sherwood Elementary School, which seems typical of the experience we all had:

“Had a great visit on Thursday the 10th at Sherwood Elementary School located in the Woodway area. An all-school assembly began at 10:50. The students filed in and we began with the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the acknowledgment of the four Veterans in attendance, including me, a vet from Legion Post 244 someplace back east, and two other vets, one Vietnam and another Korean era.

The assembly included a white table ceremony that was conducted by a teacher and students using a description of the ceremony and its significance that has been described in a children’s book.

After the assembly one of the teachers asked me if I could spend some time visiting with her fifth graders which I did, visiting with two fifth grade classes at the same time. The kids pelted me with questions for an hour or so which I enjoyed answering as best I could until recess and continued to answer questions outside the classroom during recess.

The kids were extremely polite and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience just as I have for the past three years I’ve been attending their Veterans assembly.”

“Thanks for your help in allowing us to truly show kids what it means to serve our country and what Veterans day recognizes.”

Ryan Oxner, Odyssey Elementary Dean of Students


8870 member Jon Koenig speaking at Meadowdale MS with Post Commander Terry Crabtree.

8870 member Jon Koenig speaking at Meadowdale MS with Post Commander Terry Crabtree.

Well Done!

To the following members who participated in Veterans Day School Visits

EdCC — Blossey, Szarek
Alderwood MS — Apgar
Discovery ES — Dentonn
Hazelwood ES — Doyle
Meadowdale ES — Gaul
Seaview ES — Kurfess
Voyager MS — Ward
Meadowdale MS — Crabtree, Koenig, Santopolo
Edmonds‐Woodway HS — Gaul, Mazerolle
Holy Rosary ES — Collins
Picnic Point ES — Traner
Arlington ES — McCann
Odyssey ES — White
Sherwood ES — Simmons
Olympic View MS — Traner
Scriber Lake HS — Blossey, Shelton, Whedon, Russo
Brier Terrace MS — Clyborne, Adams
Fairmount ES — Apgar
Martha Lake ES — Denton
Olivia Park ES — Crabtree, Williams
Mountlake Terrace ES — Kurfess
Edmonds ES — Sacks, Cassutt
College Place ES — Hallums
Brier ES — Apgar
Spruce ES — Edwards


Veteran Volunteers Needed

An opportunity to inspire young people 

Veteran’s Day is officially Wednesday, November 11. During the days leading up to that week many of the schools in our service area will have special programs honoring veterans and educating the students about service and sacrifice.

By the time you read this, we will have sent letters to all the schools offering to provide one or more veterans to come to any school requesting them. Some will be asked to speak before an assembly, others to visit a small class, and some to simply be present while the young people honor us and show their appreciation.

At our Post meeting on October 13 those in attendance will be given the opportunity to volunteer to visit these schools. Those who have done so in the past always come away moved and grateful for the remarkable young students and the teachers inspiring them.

If you are unable to be at the October meeting and you would like to sign up, you can do so by emailing Commander Blossey at blossey.james@gmail.com.