Commentary: Why should veterans join the VFW?

VFW-2Our local VFW Post has approximately 200 members, who are local men and women veterans of our nation’s military actions. These include WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I and the more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as some other affairs in between which are less well known, but were equally unpleasant. We range in age from the 20 somethings to well over 90 years and represent all five uniformed services.

What do we all have in common? First, we all enjoy getting together from time to time with other men and women who have had similar experiences in our lives, and together providing help to other veterans in obtaining needed services. We also strive to promote citizenship and patriotism.

Our local VFW raises funds to provide services such as helping homeless vets find housing, or unemployed vets with things like gift cards for gasoline to get to a job interview. When you see VFW members distributing “Buddy Poppies” on Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day, the money that goes in the collection cans provides the basis for those “relief” services.

In addition to Veteran Relief services, VFW also awards scholarships to deserving high school students in need who are headed to college. We speak to student groups about our service and conduct competitions in patriotic essays. At the Memorial Day observance at Edmonds Cemetery recently, our latest essay winner Olivia Olsen recited her excellent essay on what patriotism means to her.

Simply put, the VFW strives to do good things for deserving people: our veterans, their families and their communities. Members are our strength as an organization and with each individual membership, we grow stronger.

National statistics tell us that approximately 8 percent of our population have at some time served in the armed forces. Given the military activity of our country in recent decades, a sizable portion of that 8 percent is eligible for membership. Our local VFW Post 8870 serves Edmonds, Mukilteo, Mill Creek and Whidbey Island, with a combined population well over 100,000. Obviously, there are thousands of veterans who are eligible, but are not yet members.

Our meetings are held monthly at the Edmonds American Legion Hall at 117 6th Ave. S. in downtown Edmonds. We offer a light supper at 5 p.m. (1700 to you vets) and the meeting begins at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday evening of each month. For more information and eligibility requirements, check our website at, or our Facebook page under the same name.

Oh, and if you are looking for one of those smoke-filled VFW Halls with bars that you hear about, sorry, we don’t have one (there aren’t many these days), and we don’t serve alcohol at our monthly meeting. (Occasional social gatherings are a different matter.)

— By Mike Denton
VFW Post 8870

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