(Sheridan, Wyo) – A friendly, slightly chaotic atmosphere was the norm at the Memorial Day service held at the small brick building on Brundage Street which houses VFW Post 1560. Members moved back and forth between the interior and the patio as a small crowd began to form around noon. Soon the burgers and hot dogs were flying off the grill and someone had to be sent for more buns.
The crowd was mostly made up of regulars, with a few new faces thrown in. The majority were veterans and proud of it, displaying their branches of service, club affiliations, and campaigns on hats, hoodies, and vests.
The newly elected commander of the post, Amy Blumenstock, explained that, unlike other veterans’ organizations, the VFW requires members to have seen action in a war on foreign soil. Those who have relatives who qualify are allowed to join the auxiliary if they would like to be involved.
The rain came and went, but no one was deterred from playing horseshoes, catching a bite to eat, or swapping stories. At 2:00 pm the quartermaster, Dick Moline, read off the names of deceased post members and an auxiliary member rang a bell after every name. Then Bill Long, Joe Pilles, and Amy Blumenstock raised rifles into the air and fired 3 salutes, followed by a playing of “Taps.”
As live music started up, cake was served, and some headed back inside for another beer, a police officer arrived to investigate a report of gunshots. His assumption that the gunshots were related to a memorial day service were quickly confirmed and he was offered a plate of food. Blumenstock said that the complimentary community event was a part of her effort to attract more members. There will also be a barbecue after the rodeo, on Father’s Day, and on Veteran’s Day. “There are a lot of young veterans out there,” she said, “and we want them know that they can come and hang out at the VFW.”