We get lots of inquiries about what the Veterans of Foreign Wars is all about. Are you, too, wondering what we do, how we do it, and who we serve?
You can search the internet or you can just visit our web site. Take a look to your right and look for Latest News. Better yet, scroll down just a little bit below that group and look for News Categories. Now click on the down arrow and select from one of the many categories of information on our website.
Searching for news items by category will give you a look at a number of stories related to the category selected. It is that easy. You will see that we do a lot right here in Chapel Hill and the surrounding area. You will find stories on Yanceyville, Hillsborough, Caldwell and more. We are in every area near us where we find veterans that need our help. We work with other posts, local veterans groups, and charities.
Why do we do this? We are just happy to be home. Some of our shipmates and fellow soldiers, airmen and marines were not so fortunate. We feel a need to step up and serve others, help veterans and strengthen citizenship through patriotism and education.
Another interesting source for information on the Veterans of Foreign Wars is the VFW Magazine. Every member of the VFW gets a copy sent to him each month and it is free of charge. You, however, can also read this magazine on-line. Here is the link. CLICK HERE
Are you a veteran that has served overseas in a combat area? If yes, you can join the VFW. We would like you to consider joining our post in Chapel Hill. We’ll even pay for your first year’s dues. We are confident that you will find a home associating with other men and women who have volunteered (or if Vietnam or earlier, “drafted”) to serve.
Contact us directly. You can call or email us. Learn more
A gathering of over 30 people remembered the Holocaust and the liberation of Auschwitz on January 26 at The Cedars of Chapel Hill retirement community. Three survivors of Auschwitz were present.
Seventy years ago Allied Forces entered Auschwitz and the surrounding camps. This included Mauthausen concentration camp where Robert Patton, then a sergeant in George Patton’s Third Army, was part of the liberating force. Robert shared his stories, returned to Europe several times, and participated as a speaker for the Chapel Hill Holocaust Speakers Bureau. We lost Robert last April, but his wife, Helen was able to attend this event.
Rebecca Hauser joined us at the ceremony and lit a candle in remembrance of her family and village. Rebecca, a Greek, was just 20 years old when her village was assembled and sent to Auschwitz. From her village, only about 100 survived. Over 45,000 Greeks were sent to Auschwitz. Learn more
Survivors are now in their 90’s and we are losing them daily. Soon, only their stories, recollections, and mementos will remain. Their stories are recorded in books, in libraries, on film, and on video, but it is the remembrance stories that are so important.
Our Bible was first passed by the spoken word from generation to generation. Our stories were passed down from father to son and repeated countless times before it became the written word.
We gather each Sunday to recall the stories that are the Bible with readings from the Torah or Holy Scripture. So, too, were we able to hear this night a riveting story as told by a granddaughter. It was the story of her mother and her mother’s mother.
Deborah Long shared the story of her mother hiding from the Germans during a roundup of Jews. Deborah read from the pages of her mother’s diary.
She told the story of a young girl who was well hidden and evaded capture, but as she came out of hiding, her mother was gone. Her mother was heading to the railway to board a train, destination unknown.
As we listened to Deborah read from the diary, we felt the anguish of a parent separated from a child. We have all experienced the temporary loss of a child, only to rejoice in finding them safe. In her case, she was far from safe. Her story was going to be so much more than anything we could imagine.
The story continued with the young girl following the Jews heading to the railway. She found and pleaded to an officer to help her find her mother. She wanted to be with her. It was where she would be safe in her arms.
She could have safely escaped by just being quiet and getting away—now while there was still hope.
After much commotion and pleading, an officer took her with him as he started to bang on a railcars. We veterans know them as a French 40 and 8 boxcar. They held forty people or eight horses and were the transport for World War I doughboys heading to the front lines. This time they were packed with far more people.
From the very first car came a voice answering back with the name of the mother. She was there! Mother and child were united. She wanted to be with her mother and begged her mother to just tell them to let them go. The mother told the little girl that maybe she could go, but mother had to stay as they would not let her leave the railcar.
Mother and daughter were as one and they endured the long trip to an unknown in each others arms. Arriving in Auschwitz, men were put into one line, older mothers into another, young women in another, and then there were the children. Sick, faint, tired, strong, all were sorted. The girls were separated from her mother.
They led her mother to another line. Mother said, “I am weak and they are giving me a ride to the next stop.” You know the rest. They were separated and the mother eventually found the only way out of Auschwitz, “up through the chimneys.”
As Robert Patton would often say, “We can’t let them be forgotten.” That is one thing we will not do. You are encouraged to attend local events and memorials of The Holocaust. Find out more and see upcoming events.
To learn more about the Shoah (The Holocaust), click here.
Some veterans are sitting home on a Saturday morning trying to decide what to do. Should they cut the grass, go shopping, have lunch, or just mellow? It has been a hard week. Not our post members. They are looking at ways to raise awareness of veterans in the Chapel Hill area.
You will find them passing out Buddy Poppies in Downtown Chapel Hill on every Carolina Football home game. Several members will spend hours meeting and greeting college students, out-of-towners, and Carolina Alumni. They hear family stories about fathers, mothers, brothers, uncles and more having served. They start new friendships as they exchange the years of service in Vietnam, Korean War winter stories, and theaters of operation during World War II. Hands are shaken and hugs exchanged. Kids smile and mother’s snap photos. There is a common bond and new Carolina game day memories are born.
The Chapel Hill Post also offers everyone an opportunity to win two season tickets to Carolina Basketball for every home game after the last home football game. Tickets are just $3 or two for $5 and all of the money raised joins Buddy Poppy donations in our Post Veterans Relief Fund. The seats are great seats. Not too high, but just about right. They are seats that give one lucky winner a season of excitement watching Carolina Basketball with family or a friend.
Here’s a picture of Leigh McLeod of Carrboro, NC, who was ecstatic at winning our Tarheel Basketball Season Ticket raffle last year (2013). She is holding two sets of 15 Carolina Basketball home game tickets!
Marv McWherter, our Post Quartermaster, reported last Fall, “When I dropped off the tickets today she was already attired in the CAROLINA sweatshirt. One of her children is a student there, and the other, a senior in high school, has applied for the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy.” Marv takes great delight in delivering the tickets to the annual winner. “I will deliver anywhere in the state, and maybe a little further,” he said.
Are you a Carolina Basketball fan? Then drop by the old downtown Chapel Hill Post Office on Franklin Street on any Carolina home game day. We will be there with lots of Buddy Poppies and raffle tickets. You can’t miss us. Just look for our bright canopy. We are the proud Veterans of Foreign Wars members with service caps, big smiles, and warm handshakes. Come on down and support local veterans and our Veterans Relief Fund. And, if you are an eligible veteran, sign up for membership! Make a difference.
Older veterans are active veterans. Why is that? Sure, young vets are active too, but older veterans seem to be very active in their communities.
None of them earn a salary, compensation, or special benefits for their work. They get up early in the morning and head out to visit other veterans, work helping others, fix a vets’ home, visit the sick, and raise money for their churches, schools, local teams, and veterans.
An each University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill home game you will find a 92 year-old Army Air Corps World War II veteran sitting on a street corner downtown. “Have a Poppy, Wear a Poppy… Wear a Buddy Poppy for a Veteran…” He repeats this over and over again. No he doesn’t sell them, he just gives them away. The VFW never sells a Buddy Poppy. We do, however, pay hospitalized veterans to produce them.
Quite often a gathering from a nearby sorority will see him and the young ladies will gather around him. Many times they poise for personal pictures. Elmer Hughes has a ball. You never see him without a smile. Come rain or shine he is there. His reward is the sound made when canister emits the sound of a dollar or two ruffling as it is pushed into the can. Sometimes it is a $20 bill.
Sitting just across from Elmer, on the other side of the walkway, is his son, Elmer. He is a veteran who served during Vietnam. He drives 35 miles to join his dad on game day. He watches him draw a crowd and just smiles. They have a friendly competition and dad seems to always do better. It must be his smile, his kind word, and or maybe his pleasant voice.
We watch in awe. We can’t figure it out. Could it be his fancy western boots? While we ponder, the girls keep coming, gathering, chatting, and posing with the Buddy Poppy guy.
The Hughes family raised over a thousand dollars for the Chapel Hill Post’s Veterans Assistance Fund last year. That money put a new roof on a house for an aged Korean War vet and a laptop in the hands of a recent sand box vet as he entered college. Elmer also motivates our younger veterans to get out and about where they can make a difference.
That’s what we do best–help others. If you are a returning vet, give the Veterans of Foreign Wars a look. We need you and our North Carolina veterans need you too. Give us a look. Stay awhile. Maybe you will get a chance to watch Elmer in action on game day.