AFVN Group Conversations

    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  October 15, 2013

Subject:   Our History

Ken (and everyone else),

I guess that the "AFVN Group Conversations" I have been posting to the new AFVN site are really "threads," although I had never thought of that light.  There are also some threads in the "History Section / Reminiscences and Stories" originally prepared by either Paul Kasper or Bob Morecook.  Unfortunately, they are not arranged as such so it isn't possible to quickly go to a specific thread or topic.  I have lots of messages collected---some even grouped---to eventually add to the site.  It just take time.  One problem I have is deciding when a topic/thread is going to be handled as such.  For example, the messages on the Pueblo.  David Pinto's original message is dated September 19.  Several other comments were made over the next couple of days, to include mine of September 23--then silence until just today when Bob Nelson picked it up again.  I was close to discarding the messages as a "dead end" but now I guess I group them for future publication.

Jim W

Our History

October 2013

    From:  Jim White

   Dated:  August 20, 2017

Subject:   Our History -- A Few More Comments 

I owe Ken Kalish an apology for being so slow in  posting his message.  However I certainly don't plan to give one to Jim White. 

These message were erroneously filed shortly after receipt and therefore laid buried in a collection of messages which I was planning to add as a Group Conversation sometime in the future.  At present, I really am not sure where they so filed, but it might have been the messages on the Pueblo which I posted just a week or so ago.  As it almost always happens, the future is here.  After five years and 10 months of lots and lots of hours in front of the computer, I am beginning to get a large "stack" of "conversations to post someday" under control--and that is how I found these messages.      

Jim W

     From:  Ken Kalish

   Dated:  October 15, 2013

Subject:  Our History

I am watching not only the threads, but also the people posting to those threads.   Guess what - some of us are finally finding an interest in our work here and are moving from watchers to contributors.   And with that, I am delighted. 
Please, everyone, take the time to comprehend what this community is all about.  We are about an experience in which a very, very few people have ever had the opportunity to participate, endure, or enjoy.  We provided the last bit of “back home” more than 50,000 of our brothers in arms ever had. 
The Pueblo discussion is an example of why we need every one of us participating in the exchange.  We have among us people who have done incredible things, yet they see themselves only as observers or enablers.  Folks, if we don’t share our stories, those stories die with us.  At that point we achieve a self-fulfilling prophecy: our accomplishments are lost to history. 
I am reminded of an American Legion post in Superior, WI about which I did a TV news feature.  The post owned the building, but it used only one large room.  It rented out the rest to keep post coffers liquid.  Three of the post members showed me something that literally took my breath away.  Theirs was a post to the last man.  Each member was a veteran of the First World War.  The day it was founded is the day it ceased accepting members. 
The walls of the room were glass cases filled with wine glasses, each glass bearing a name and unit name.  It was an octagonal room, the walls and ceiling and floor painted black.  Every glass once stood upright, but as members died the glasses bearing their names were turned upside down.  I don’t remember how many glasses were still upright, but I produced the feature in 1970.  At the center of the display, the first thing you saw when you entered the room, was a jeroboam of champagne.  That bottle and whatever cash was in the post account when one of the last two members died went to the last member, who was charged with surrendering the post charter and having veterans toast all of those honored dead.  Members of  the Superior VFW and American Legion posts participated in that last toast, as did members of the Duluth VFW posts and American Legion posts.  MOH recipient Mike Colalillo was one of those present, as was I and the last two WWI greyhounders in my own VFW post. 
We heard stories all day about that war.  There were perhaps ten veterans of “the War to end all Wars” in attendance, and all we guests did was listen.  We learned so much that day, and had it not been for those assembled old men many of those stories would never have been saved. 
Those of you who don’t post often (or at all), please considering joining us at our next reunion, wherever it may be.  We need you.