Post by Category : Memorial Day

A Reason to Be Proud

“From a small seed, a mighty oak may grow.”  – Aeschylus.  That quote is very, very old, but the words ring true and there are countless examples of it in nature and in life.

 

For our little post, it is very true.  We have accomplished much during our twenty plus years to support the community, promote Veterans of Foreign War Programs, assist veterans, and maintain our military traditions.  Memorial Day is just one of those traditions.

 

Each year our Post members gathered at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery to place flags on each veteran’s grave.  Later, we added a special Memorial Service after flag placement.  Next, we added a Monday (Memorial Day) service, which was followed by the addition of a no-host breakfast for all veterans and their families after flag placement.  Age gradually caught up with the core volunteers, so we enlisted the help of a few Scouts.  The few became many, and another tradition was begun.

 

Local Memorial Day weekend events, that began with the efforts of a few of our earliest members,  has ensured that Memorial Day and other Patriotic events flourished.  We are honored to have been a catalyst for veterans activities and hope that you join us for flag placement at 6:30 am on Saturday, May 26th, at the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery.  You will marvel, as we do, at the veterans camaraderie and volunteers’ helpfulness.  We’ll even give you a flag to place and the story behind the action.  

 

There are lots of events coming to and going on in Chapel Hill, and all have their roots in the efforts of C V Cummings Chapel Hill Post 9100, Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Watch our pages or follow us on FaceBook to see what events are happening in Chapel Hill over the Memorial Day Weekend.

A Heartbreaking Moment

Arlington

Our Post often gets inquiries about veterans memorial services, flags, and funeral honors for a departed family member.  It is usually just before a planned service. At our meetings we often talk about this situation and how to better assist families in need.

 

The VA provides cemetery plots for all honorably discharged veterans. This includes the opening of the grave, burial, and funeral honors and presentation of a flag to the family. There is no cost to the family. There are procedures to follow and they are fairly easy to accomplish. You can even apply on-line for Pre-Need Burial Eligibility. To learn more, CLICK HERE.

 

We encourage all veterans to have a discussion with their family about their desires.  This includes the memorial service and location of wills, special instructions, and their Record of Discharge and Release from Active Duty (DD Form 214).  The DD Form 214 proves entitlement.  Lost or misplaced DD Form 214’s can be obtained from the National Archives.  You do not have to hire anyone to obtain a veteran’s DD Form 214.  It is a no cost service, but it will take time to obtain.  Do not wait. Keep this important document with the veteran’s  important papers.

 

Of course, preparation and transportation of a veteran’s remains or cremains are not a service of the VA.   

 

Veterans are encouraged to join the Veterans of Foreign Wars and our post.  There are many opportunities to serve local veterans and their families.  We need active veterans to provide assistance and serve on committees that provide scholarships, help veterans, provide advice and assistance, and more.  Contact us to join and make a difference where it counts.

VFW Buddy Poppies

World War II Vet Elmer Hughes passes out Buddy Poppies
World War II Vet Elmer Hughes passes out Buddy Poppies

Each year our post members brave wind, cold, rain, and maybe even a little snow as they hand out Buddy Poppies in downtown Chapel Hill.  They do it to raise money for programs that benefit veterans, their families and homeless.  Watch for us on each Carolina game day at the Old Chapel Hill Post Office on Franklin Street.  Our first date is September 17th and we will be there from noon to about 3:30 pm.

 

buddy-poppy-handout-for-driveWe are asked about the story behind the Buddy Poppy and we are getting pretty good at sharing the history of the VFW Buddy Poppy. We found a video on the Buddy Poppy that can be viewed by you, shared in a school class or assembly, or viewed at a civic function or other event.  We want to remind everyone that over 400,000 men and women of these United States have perished in wars since, and including, World War I.  Many hundreds of thousands returned home with war wounds.  You can help us share America’s story.  Afterall, how can we understand who we are, if we do not share, remember, and honor the sacrifices of American men and women?

 

Won’t you share the story of the Buddy Poppies in your community?  And, when you see a veteran giving away a Buddy Poppy, thank them and proudly wear the Buddy Poppy.  If you can, make a donation to their Veterans Relief Fund.

 

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Flag Placement and Events – Memorial Day  0

Ed and Karen Gill place flags
Ed and Karen Gill place flags

Memorial Day ceremonies are a tradition with the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Our Post, C. V. Cummings Chapel Hill Post 9100, does more than a solitary event on Memorial Day.  We start with flag placement at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery on Saturday, May 28th, 2016.

 

Post members, American Legionnaires, Boy Scouts and local citizens join together at 6:30 a.m. to place flags on all identifiable veteran graves.

We invite you to attend to observe or participate.  If you have a family member buried at the cemetery, we can provide you with a flag for placement.

At 8 a.m. on Saturday the post will conduct a traditional Memorial Day Remembrance ceremony.  Prayers, a narrative of the history of Memorial Day, and a reading of the original holiday General Order will precede the sounding of TAPS.  This service will be repeated on Monday, May 30th, the official holiday.

 

Parents are encouraged to have their kids attend the Saturday services.  It will put meaning back into a “super sale” day at local shopping centers. Come early and watch the placement of flags and the early morning sun illuminate the cemetery with the first rays of sunlight.  It will bring you back each year.

 

Participating veterans are encouraged to join the Post for a Saturday no-host breakfast at 9 a.m. at Bob Evans Restaurant.  It is just up US 15-501 at I-85.

 

Sometimes we miss a grave, because the family did not order a grave marker from the VA and there are nothing tells us that a veteran is buried at a grave.  Grave markers for veterans are provided free of charge to a family for their veteran.  We can assist families with getting a headstone, surface stone, or the new medallion for a family stone.  Learn more

 

VFW placed flags remain in position from Saturday to about Tuesday, May 31th.

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Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill

Post 9100 sponsors current memorial services at the memorial site.
Post 9100 sponsors current memorial services at the memorial site.

The veterans of Chapel Hill are one more step closer to building a Veterans Memorial at Chapel Hill.  The memorial was approved by the Chapel Hill Town Council and preliminary plans are complete.  It is now time to raise money.

 

Our Post voted this month to be a significant donor for the memorial.  We have approved a $1,000 grant to fund the memorial.  Our donation is the first large donation.  It shows the commitment of local veterans and members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for this project.

 

You can learn more about the memorial by visiting the Chapel Hill Veterans Memorial website.

Freedom is Not Free

Pvt Treptow's PledgeMemorial Day is just a memory.  Veterans Day is months away.  Flags have been neatly packed away to await a holiday.  Yet, somewhere around the world a soldier, sailor, airman or marine is moving out or forward in defense of our great country or ally.  It is important that we be ever mindful of their sacrifices.

Let us also remember the sacrifices that each member of our post has endured as they, too, stood on the front lines doing their duty.  We all have stories to share.  Ask a fellow veteran, member or not, about their service.  You may be very surprised to learn what a fellow vet did as he or she served.

Encourage them to share their stories and maybe even record some of it for their family history.  Rusty Edmister can help them with creating a video recording for inclusion in the North Carolina Archives Military Collection.  It’s a humbling experience that is sure to bring forward a sense of service and pride in accomplishment when the veteran watches himself tell his story, a story that he will hear for the very first time.

President Ronald Reagan shared his observations on service, duty, and sacrifice when he gave his speech, Freedom is Not Free.

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D-Day 3D on the Raleigh IMAX Screen

D-Day was on 6 June and many of our World War II veterans who participated are gone.  Many of us have known some of them and have heard their stories.  Now we can see a larger than life documentary on an IMAX screen.  Narrated by Tom Brokaw, it is a mission for us to go on.  It is on the screen this week.  Learn more

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Remembering Others on Memorial Day

There is no greater feeling than that felt upon hearing another veteran or member of our post share their positive experiences at a post commemorative event.  We sometimes wonder if we are making a difference.   Not today.  We were all lifted up by what we shared as we remembered the fallen.

Bugler Memorial Day 2014This is what Rusty Edmister wrote today to his friends, “My VFW Post put flags by the tombstones of veterans in the Chapel Hill ceremony this morning.  It was a beautiful morning, and our mission was to simply remember and honor those who served ahead of us, with us, and after us.  If you get the chance between now and Monday afternoon, drive by or walk through a cemetery with its flags waving and consider that we are alive and owe it to our comrades to respect and honor them by remembering the invest they made in our country.”

About 50 people joined together at the cemetery.  There were local scouts, American Legionnaires, other veterans, and local folk.  Everyone chipped in to place a flag, read aloud the veteran’s name, and render a salute.  Some escorted older members and assisted in flag placement.  New stories and memories were in the making and a sense of service and pride was in the air.

Time Warner Cable News arrived at 6 am and reported live from the cemetery.  Chapel Hill News (News and Observer) and The Chapel Hill Herald also sent reporters.  Chapel Hill WCHL Radio was also on site with their photographer reporting for Chapelboro.com.  It was an emotional event for the reporters.  They watched, listened, and learned.  They asked questions and were moved by the veterans and scouts as each shared a story of the meaning of Memorial Day or their participation.

Time Warner Central North Carolina news reporter Amy Elliott spoke of the sounds heard as veterans walked the path and among the stones.  She reported on the emotions expressed and the solemnness of our mission.  Amy also shared with viewers our dedication to the memory of those who are buried in Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery.  Shopping for a new car, a suit, a new mattress or other “thing on sale” was the least of things on our mind.  All were there to show their appreciation to the millions of servicemen and women who died on active duty in service of their country…one flag, on one grave, and reading aloud one name at a time.  View the story

They decorated more than 450 graves with the flag of their country.  Most returned home safely, but we honor them, too, because they served and fought alongside those who did not return.

  • 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.  (from In Flanders Fields, by John McCrea

May all who rest in our town know that we have not forgotten them, nor did we fail to decorate their graves for Memorial Day.

We return to the Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery on Memorial Day, May 26th, at 8 am for a repeat memorial ceremony.  All are invited to join us.

The American Legion will have an Open House on Monday starting at 10 am, with a memorial service at 11 am, and the Village Band in concert at 1 pm.

The News and Observer  published a story on upcoming local Memorial Day events.  Read story

Dachau Ashes Find Final Rest In Durham  0

Dachau ovens
Dachau ovens

Will we, those who are the descendants of World War II soldiers, forget the horrors witnessed by the Third U.S. Army as they entered Dachau and other extermination camps? Will we forget the inhumanity suffered by millions of men, women, the aged, and children?

One local man was constantly reminded of Dachau through a family story of an American soldier, a Jewish Dachau survivor, and a tin of ashes from a Dachau oven. “Take this,” the former prisoner said to the soldier, “so you will remember what happened here.”

That tin and its story was passed from father to son, from son to family, and now continues on its journey with a final burial at Durham Hebrew Cemetery.

The final burial will take place at the Durham Hebrew Cemetery – Beth El Synagogue on Sunday, May 25th, at 11 am.  The cemetery is near the Historic Old Maplewood Cemetery and is located at the intersection of Morehead Ave and Kent Street in Durham.

This is an amazing story and it has been reported on by the New York Times.   The New York Times article tells the beautiful, heartrending story of ashes that were received by an American soldier, when he entered the Dachau Concentration Camp soon after its liberation.  Read the story

Everyone is invited to attend this special burial service.  For  local veterans, it is our opportunity to complete the circle and stand in for those World War II soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen who fought for a free Europe and world, as our final salute.  We have not forgotten.

The Durham Hebrew Cemetery may be the oldest Jewish institution of record in this area and dates back to 1884.   For many years, it was the only Jewish cemetery for a significant geographical area. Although it is located off Morehead Avenue and adjacent to Old Maplewood Cemetery, access is best gained by going through the Old Maplewood Cemetery entrance on Kent Street, just off Morehead Avenue.

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Chapel Hill Teens Return to Normandy  0

A Chapel Hill Middle School French language teacher brought language to life by taking a group of eighth grade students to France and the beaches of Normandy.  We found out about her project this year as she prepares to take a group of East Chapel Hill High School students back to France for the 70th and final annual commemoration ceremony at the American Cemetery in Normandy.
Students share an evening with Post vets
Students share an evening with Post vets

Here is part of her story as she shared the goals of this year’s project.  “I am a middle school teacher in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, who has traveled to the American Cemetery in Normandy with thirty students since 2009. My students stay with families in Liege, Belgium, but an important piece of history, sacrifice and honor, is best learned when they walk Omaha Beach, visit the American Cemetery, and imagine the effects of war at Pointe du Hoc.  While in Belgium, my students also visit Henri Chapelle  and discuss the impact of WWII in French with their host families.

A group of six students, who are now juniors in high school ( 17 years old), would like to return to Normandy and volunteer to help with the 70th D-Day celebration. They are students who traveled with me in 2011 and who have a deep interest in honoring our veterans. These incredible young people  have had relatives and close friends fight in WWII and another hopes to be a history teacher and travel abroad with students.  All these students are doing very well in school, have achieved numerous honors and speak French well. Would you have any opportunities for them to volunteer for this event?” Robin McMahon,French teacher/ Smith Middle School, Chapel Hill, NC.
The students were invited to our post dinner meeting in February and they were greeted and welcomed by veterans from all conflicts going back to World War II.  They met an Iwo Jima survivor, an Army Scout from the the Battle of the Bulge, Korean War vets, Vietnam Vets, Iraqi Freedom vets and more.  They shared their project and our vets shared some of their experiences, life stories, and what they do now.  They were eager listeners and so were we.
Our army scout  and Battle of the Bulge survivor is Mark Sumner.  Mark was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 2008.  He is also a candidate to join the students as their guest to France where he will be able to attend the commemorative ceremonies.  The students are raising funds so that they can take several D-Day participants with them, to include some veterans who fought in France.
These students, and their teacher, touched our hearts and we were honored to be able to assist them with their project.  We donated $500, but we also decided to assist them as they reached out to local businesses and citizens as they told their story and sought financial support.
We will follow the students as they prepare for their journey, travel in France, and create their stories and presentations on return.  We are very proud of these young students.  We hope you are, too.  For more information and to contribute, visit their website at:  http://gettingtoknoweurope.org/nc-to-normandy/