“Before the Colors Fade” is the title of a story about six Chapel Hill Veterans who went to Arlington to help say a final “goodbye” to a friend and fellow soldier, Carl Fritz. I am reminded of that trip and the camaraderie that we shared in a chartered Greyhound Scenicruiser to Arlington, Washington, and the World War II Memorial. I am also reminded that we are losing more and more of the history of the Great War, The War to End All Wars, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Kuwait, the Gulf and more.
We celebrate the living on Veterans Day. We remember the dead on Memorial Day. So, why not spend some time with a veteran on Veterans Day. Young or old, ask them to share a small part of their story. You will be glad you did. So will they.
Here is a story about two boys and an old sailor from the USS Yorktown. Watch it and you will understand.
There are lots of events in and around Chapel Hill, Durham, Hillsborough and Orange County. We hope that you will attend one or more of the local events.
We encourage you to join in at the Orange County Veterans Memorial for their commemorative event and to see the improvements on the memorial. We are completing the memorial in phases and as we raise the funds needed to complete it.
William Melega, a National Award Recipient of the VFW Teacher of the Year Award, has a lecture series and it is sponsored by the Chapel Hill PTA at the Chapel Hill Varsity Theater.
The first of the series of ten presentations is Thursday, Oct 19th. Reception at 6:00 pm and Lecture at 7:00 pm.
The first lecture commemorates the 100th Anniversary of America’s entrance into the First World War. Cost is $25, $30 at the door. A portion of the ticket cost goes to the PTSA and The Wounded Warrior Project.
Elmer Hughes will attend with his son as a special guest of the PTA and William Melega.
Download the event flyer and schedule of future events. Click Here.
Our Post is getting ready to join other veterans in our rural areas of northern Durham for the annual Caldwell July 4th Independence Day Parade. It is a fun event that reminds us of the small community parades that dotted America for many years. Caldwell is our favorite and we really enjoy the day and the parade.
If you are a Post member, a veteran, a family member or a friend of a veteran, we hope you will skip a day of shopping and join us as we salute our Nation. Our post will set up a couple of canopies and cooking equipment at the Caldwell Community Center at about 8:30 a.m. A number of our seniors will setup their folding chairs along the roadway by our encampment and relax as they await the parade that starts at 11 a.m.
At about 10 a.m. many of our veterans join the town (and neighboring community) marchers at the Caldwell Fire House (on Guess Rd). The community lines Guess Road from the firehouse to the community center. There are several places along Guess Rd to watch the parade. There is also a parking area near the community center.
The parade starts moving at 10:50 with veterans leading the parade. We will stop at the NC 57 and Guess Rd. intersection to wait for the 11 a.m. official start. This is when traffic is stopped and one lucky–and very surprised– motorist will be selected as this year’s Grand Marshal.
At exactly 11 a.m., the traffic is stopped on NC 57. Our Post Colors are lowered to highlight the National Ensign and the National Anthem is played. A bi-plane from the “Caldwell Air Force” flies overhead and you can feel the pride and respect swell as the community honors the veterans and their Country.
The parade then steps out led by veterans and heads north toward its end at the Caldwell Community Center about one mile up the road. We are the first to arrive and it is a grand site. Our wives and families cheer us on and take lots of pictures. We then join them for a snack and watch the parade go by. The parade lasts nearly an hour! Lots to see!
If you are a veteran, you are welcome to watch the parade from the grove of trees just before the community center. We have a family picnic during and after the parade. Our members bring a cold dish or dessert to share and our cooks prepare hot dogs for our members and guests.
Post 9100 welcomes all veterans to drop by the Post 9100 canopy to meet other area veterans and their families. Come on by and sit a spell.
On June 15th, 2017, a new day began for Rusty Edmister of Chapel Hill VFW Post 9100. It was a day of reflection in that on the day prior Rusty had completed another Oral History of a veteran–his 334th interview. No, that number is correct–334 individual interviews of service men and women.
With a miniature video camera, several extra tapes and a spare battery, he had headed off on June 14th to meet with a veteran. Rusty was on a quest. He often speaks of the many men and women he has met all over North Carolina and surrounding areas. Each has a unique story to tell. A story of their days, weeks, months, and maybe even years of military service.
He may receive a lead from a family member, another veteran, or through an encounter at a coffee shop, restaurant, civic event, or picnic. Veterans are everywhere, but not all of them wear a distinctive military or service ball cap, jacket, or mark their car with an “I’ve Served” bumper sticker. Wherever they are, Rusty is driven to meet them and tell them his story.
It’s the story of a retired IBM employee who served himself in the military. He had heard of a North Carolina Archives project to record oral histories and joined in that effort. He worked on it for more than a year and over 100 interviews. Now he continues his recordings, much like the fictional Songcatcher of North Carolina who scoured the mountains and hollers of North Carolina in a quest to record mountain music. The difference with Rusty is that his quest is very real and extremely important. It is a race against time and the impending loss of lives of our remaining World War II and Korean War veterans.
Each has a story to tell that will disappear with their passing. He “has to” capture their stories while there is time. Many children of those who served never really talk to their mother, father, sister or brother. Within the veteran there is a story, however slight, about their experiences. It may be about the time they were drafted and sent off to one of the hundreds of training centers, stations, and camps that dotted these United States of America. It might be the story of a volunteer that was rejected due to a medical condition before the war, but who was accepted once the draft call had his name on the local Draft Board’s list. Or, maybe, the story of a sailor who was sent off to a far away island to build an airfield or port in time to support arriving United States Marines working their way towards Japan. There are lots and lots of unrecorded stories.
But there is a worse story. It is the story of a son or grandchild who realizes that Pops, Gramps, Uncle Bill, or Aunt Stella passed away. They’ll be sitting on a porch, at a beach, be in school or at home, when the phone rings or they get a FaceBook or Twitter alert. Time does not wait and Rusty, as well as his fellow veterans, have heard the sorrowful stories of an opportunity unfulfilled. This is what drives Rusty and other veterans to record oral histories. Time will not wait. It’s time to capture another story.
Our Post is very proud to have Rusty Edmister as a member. He epitomizes the drive and dedication former servicemen or women have to make a difference in their community. We hope that you will contact Rusty Edmister and let him know that you know of a veteran with a story to tell. Rusty will drive most anywhere in the state (and neighboring states, too) to conduct the interview. He will also give the veteran multiple copies of the interview on DVDs (one for the veteran and each of his or her family members), and will ensure a copy is placed in a historical reference library or archive.
The cost? Nothing. Not a penny. Rusty receives his reward in knowing that he made a difference and that he was able to save a little bit of the history of one who served his Country. You can email Rusty by clicking here.
It is with great sadden that we share with you the loss of Mark Sumner, a long time member of both the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and other veterans and service groups.
Mark was a strong supporter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9100, attending many of our special civic events, promoting post member events and trips, and so much more. He has been a pillar of strength to our post and will be very much missed. Mark was also the recipient of France’s distinguished medal, The Legion of Honor.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday, June 27, 2017 at 2:00 pm at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 210 St. Mary’s Road, Hillsborough. Burial with military honors will follow in the church cemetery.
The family will receive visitors Monday evening from 5-7 pm at Hall-Wynne Funeral Home, 1113 W. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701. Memorials may be directed St.. Matthew’s Memorial Fund, the Snow Camp Outdoor Theatre, 301 Drama Road, Snow Camp, NC 27349, or to American Legion Post No. 6, P.O. Box 2323, Chapel Hill, NC 27515.
Please wear your VFW Cap to the funeral or viewing. Let the family know that his comrades are there.
After the funeral, I will share with you photos of Mark in action with veterans. I will also add him to the list of distinguished local veterans on this site and on the Orange County Veterans Memorial website at http:/www.orangecountyveteransmemorial.com.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is now accepting entries into its 2017-18 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen youth scholarship competitions. The announcement comes after students from across the globe recently took home their share of more than $3.3 million in scholarships and awards from last year’s competitions.
The VFW’s Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay competitions are dedicated to encouraging a better understanding and appreciation of America, and to help foster patriotism among today’s youth. Students are required to submit an oral or written essay in response to a question or statement on a subject which prompts them to consider how American history and democratic ideals and principles apply to their lives.
This year’s Voice of Democracy theme asks high school students to describe, “American History: Our Hope for the Future.” Voice of Democracy is an audio-essay competition open to students in grades 9-12. The national winner is presented the $30,000, T.C. Selman Memorial Scholarship award. More than 46,000 high school students competed in last year’s competition.
The Patriot’s Pen writing competition is open to students in grades 6-8. This year, students are asked to reflect on the statement, “America’s Gift to My Generation.” The national winner will receive a $5,000 award. More than 122,000 middle and junior high school students competed in last year’s competition. Both national awards will be presented during the 2018 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., in March.
Student participants are asked to submit their entry (along with a completed entry form) to Chapel Hill Post 9100 your local host VFW Post. Chapel Hill accepts entries from Chapel Hill and surrounding area. The deadline for student entries in both contests is October 31, 2017.
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.
We are very proud to announce that our local and district Patriot’s Pen Competition is now complete. The Chapel Hill winner of the essay contest is Miss Amelia J. Solum. Miss Solum is a resident of Chapel Hill and is a student at McDougle Middle School.
As our Post’s First Place winner, Miss Solum will receive a special certificate of recognition and a cash scholarship award of $100. In addition, Amelia will join the local veterans for dinner and have an opportunity to read her winning essay to them.
The topic of this year’s contest is “The America I Believe In.” Miss Solum was entered into district finals and took FIRST PLACE for District 6. Her essay is now being judged in a state-wide competition with winners soon to be announced. The state winner will compete in a Veterans of Foreign Wars National contest.
The Patriot’s Pen contest is an annual contest and is open to students in the 6th through 8th grade. We encourage all students, including home schooled students, to compete. Chapel Hill has sponsored students that have won district and state contests. Why not consider entering in the Fall?
We have been holding back on announcing local winners for post essay and speech contests until after the district level winners were selected. That has happened and we now can proudly announce our Chapel Hill Voice of Democracy winner.
It is Miss Savannah R. Dowden of Chapel Hill. Savannah is a student of Carrboro High School. As the Chapel Hill Post 9100 winner, the post is hosting her and her family at their January 3rd meeting at the American Legion Post Home in Chapel Hill.
Miss Dowden will join the post members for dinner and will present her winning oral essay on My Responsibility to America. Miss Dowden will receive a cash prize of $100 and competed in district competition in December.