Historically speaking

VFW chartered in 1914

Members of the Negaunee VFW post are pictured. Photo courtesy of the Negaunee Historical Society)

NEGAUNEE — “We officers and enlisted men and honorable discharged men of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States of America, who have served in Foreign Wars of the United States of America do unite to establish a permanent organization, which shall be known as Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America was organized by the uniting of the Army of the Philippines, American Veterans of Foreign Service, and the Army of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico on September 14-17, 1914, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Objects of the association are fraternal, patriotic, historical and educational. To preserve and strengthen the comradeship among its members.; to assist worthy comrades; to perpetuate the memory and history of the dead, and to assist widows and orphans; to maintain and extend the institutions of American freedom; and to preserve and defend the United States from all her enemies.

By Public Act No. 630 of the 74th Congress, House resolution 11454, the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States were granted a Congressional charter. It was 20 years later on November 12, 1934, that the Negaunee Romo Post 3165 of the VFW was officially installed and granted a charter.

At this time the post had a membership of 45. The oldest charter member was Edward Pigott, who served in the Spanish American War.

The first post commander was Paul Barasa. Meetings of the post were held upstairs of the Negaunee Fire Hall, in the Community Building, and in the office of Pickands Coal Co. At the close of World War ll, veterans who had served overseas during the war, became members of the organization.

At this time meetings were still being held at the Community Building. In February of 1948, the Post rented the second floor of the Kuhlman Building, on the corner of Iron and Silver streets, which later was Symons Hardware. it was decided that the post should acquire its home.

As a result of a lengthy discussion and planning the veterans bought the building on Gold Street, which it now occupies. Money to purchase the building was raised by floating bonds, which were subscribed to members and public spririted citizens of the area. The building was occupied by the Post on Sept. 26, 1948.

Through many fundraising campaigns the bonds, and indebtedness was paid off in 1962. The first firing squad and drill team was formed in November 1947. The firing squad and drill team had been active in parades, public functions and military funerals.

The post assisted hundred of veterans, widows and children of deceased veterans, obtaining benefits available to them under the GI Bill of Rights and Veterans Administration. A monument by city hall in the Veterans Park was first dedicated to the veterans of World War ll, now the monument also reads World War l, “Those Who Fought and Died in a War to End All Wars,” Korea, Remembering Those Who Served in a Forgotten War,” Vietnam, “Never Again Let One Generation of Veterans Forget Another.” “Lest We Forget,” Desert Storm, Somali, Lebanon, Panama, Haiti, Kosovo.

“In Flanders Field” is one of the most famous poems about World War One. It was written by a Canadian physician, Lt. Col. John McCray on May 3, 1915, after he witnessed the death of his friend.

The poem was written in the trenches on a scrap of paper. The poppies referred to in the poem grew in Flanders (Belgium) where casualties had been buried and became a symbol of remembrance, Memorial Day.

In Flanders Field the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row by row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

in Flanders Field.

Did you remember to buy a poppy from a member of the VFW?


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