Setting the record straight on Creswell, VFW, parade

To The Editor: After reading a story Sunday in Eugene’s daily newspaper, it would be easy for someone to believe that Creswell is a bigoted and unkind community. I strongly disagree. Creswell is a kind, friendly community – that is why I joined the Creswell VFW Post. We need to work together – Creswell is a good place. There were a number of misleading and inflammatory statements in the Eugene paper’s front-page article on Sunday, July 25. Now to address some of the half-truths and comments from the article:

1. The Military Order of the Cootie is chartered separately from Creswell’s VFW Post; the cooties have their own charter and bylaws. The patriotic organizer of the parade asked the Cootie Drum Corps if they could lead the parade as they have done over the past eight years. No one “marched at the front of the parade,” as incorrectly stated in the RG article. Six Cootie members rode on the flatbed trailer playing patriotic music, one dressed as Uncle Sam. The Cootie Drum Corps is a patriotic group that participates in patriotic activities to provide patriotic music and to support American values; there was no agenda other than that. The logo on the trailer was NOT the VFW Post’s but was the Cootie’s logo. At meetings prior to the parade, the Creswell VFW Post decided not to participate because there was no permit and the City did not sanction the parade. The veterans following on ATVs are from a nearby community, and are not members of the Creswell VFW Post.

2. The VFW bylaws do not allow us to be part of any radical movement, either on the right or the left, which can be grounds for removal from the VFW. There is no member of the Creswell VFW Post that is a member of the Proud Boys.

3. The Proud Boys did participate in the parade, but were not affiliated with the Creswell VFW. I do not believe that the Proud Boys organized or led the parade. 

4. I grew up in a small conservative Oregon community similar to Creswell. When I attended the University of Oregon 50+ years ago I was surprised how the faculty and some other students treated me. They met my desire to serve my country as an Army Officer with scorn. Some things don’t seem to change so I am not surprised by certain attitudes. The assertions in the article about the VFW are totally false! 

The VFW is a community-based organization to support veterans, our active-duty military, and to provide service to our communities. Our Creswell VFW comments were an attack on our integrity. The VFW is not “cooperating” with the Proud Boys; DO NOT think of the Creswell VFW in that way!

The Bylaws of the Veterans of Foreign Wars forbids members from participating in political discussions during meetings or while representing the VFW. Additionally, at each meeting Article 1, Constitution of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is read to remind us of what our purpose is, and how we should conduct ourselves.

Bob Beck,Commander, OR VFW District 13, Past Cmdr., Creswell VFW Post 4039

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Mayor deserves our support

To The Editor: I wish to express appreciation for our mayor. As mayor and councilor she helped make Creswell safe, economically vibrant, and pleasant through her work and support of the transportation plan, urban renewal district, parks plan, and zoning to increase affordable housing.

Ed Gunderson, Creswell