By John Brugger/John Brugger, Colonel, US Army (Retired) Chaplain, Chewelah VFW Post 2047
I am writing to invite the citizens of Chewelah and surrounding communities to attend the combined Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Chewelah Post 2047 and American Legion Chewelah Post 54 Veteran Memorial Service to be held at the Chewelah City Park, Center Pavilion Stage on Sept. 17, 2016 at Noon.
This memorial service is intended first to honor those of our Comrades throughout Stevens County who have answered the final call over this past year. But, the Memorial service goes far beyond that in that it is a remembrance of all of our fallen brothers and sisters in arms who have served under the flag of the United States. This year, perhaps more than any other, our flag, our freedom, our very constitution seems to be under attack both from without as well as from within our own hallowed halls of government.
The media has bombarded us with stories of sports figures that disrespect the Flag, and schools who are afraid to fly the Flag because it might hurt someone’s feelings. Communities have banned flags from being flown on individual property owners homes and in their yards. Yet as I consider world history nearly every nation on earth has reason to respect the Flag of the United States and owes a debt of gratitude for the freedoms they enjoy because our citizens have routinely answered the call to fight for the rights of the oppressed people of the world wherever they may be. Our fathers, brothers, husbands, sons, daughters, sisters, wives and mothers have all paid the price in one way or another. Some who served have never returned, others returned but have special and perpetual needs due to the injuries sustained at the hands of our enemies. Needs that our government seems to want to ignore, at least in part.
This month of September reminds us of what we are as a nation of free people. In this month we have V-J Day and there should never be an apology for having responded to foreign attacks on US soil with superior might and firepower. We also have Patriots Day in honor of those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001 in the unprovoked attack, again on U.S. soil. On that day over 3,000 people, from all walks of life and from all branches of service including police, fire and rescue, and medical personnel, gave up their lives. Loss of life and tragedy affected every state in the nation. Finally we honor those who have given a son or daughter to the cause of Freedom when we remember the Gold Star mothers later in the month. Lest we forget, also we remember those who remain still unaccounted for or remain as prisoners of war in a foreign land with POW/MIA Remembrance Day.
Historically, September is also the anniversary of the approval of the U.S. Constitution in 1787 and the anniversary of the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, inspired during the British Naval attack on Fort McHenry in 1814 during the Battle of Baltimore. Also important but lesser known is the organization of both the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1899 and the VFW Auxiliary in 1914.
The founding charter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States includes the provision that we remember our fallen comrades and assist their widows and orphans. We are also to serve as an educational resource in fostering true patriotism, and for maintaining and extending the institutions of American Freedom. This memorial service is intended to fulfill, at least in some small part, these purposes.
As the representative of the Chewelah Post 2047 VFW I again encourage you to come out on September 17 to honor our fallen comrades. We will have a memorial roll call and a placing of tributes before a Fallen Soldier Monument as well as a formal flag folding ceremony with a narration of the meaning of each of the folds.