Ballwin VFW Post 6274

The Post was organized early in the spring of 1946. Charter and early members were:

                                Norman Barner                                 Cledie Bird
                                Dick Bopp                                         Louis Defoe                                       
                                Dick Deibel                                       Chester Dependahl
                                Norman Engelmann                          Hap Eschenbrenner
                                Vern Harness                                    Arnold Hoffman
                                Dick Holtz                                        Ollie Kieffer
                                Hyman Markus                                 Rupp Mertz
                                Norman Ruchs                                  Joe Sabel
                                Leroy Schafer                                    Vic Schmidt
                                Dutch Schupman                              Virgil Weibe
 
The original meeting place was the United Neighbors Building at the northeast corner of Holloway and Manchester Roads. It had an open air dance hall behind the building that we used often for dances and other social activities. Meetings were held monthly and there were two organizational meetings before we requested a charter from the National Veterans of Foreign Wars Organization. On receiving our charter the first Commander was Dutch Schupman and the first Quartermaster was Dick Deibel. The post was originally supported by 50/50 raffles and other gambling sources of funds. 

After several years meeting at the United Neighbors Building we had saved enough money to buy the old Stringtown School and .8 acres located in the northeast quadrant of Clayton Road and Baxter Road. We bought the property for $6,700 and the one room school house needed a great deal of work, the building did not have indoor plumbing. The building was renovated and made larger primarily by the donated efforts of the VFW members who were mostly tradesmen – carpenters, plumbers, concrete workers and other helpers. Over the years the VFW hosted a lot of parties at this location – Christmas, barbeques, hobo parties, parties for the kids, and , of course, parties for the adults. After all the work by members and a total investment of $13,000 we sold the property and building in 1972 for $125,000. We were at this location for about twenty years.

After the sale of the Stringtown property we met at Holy Infant school for two years (some members recall meeting at French Quarter, but they admit this could have involved post meeting activities). We bought the current property on Mimosa Lane about 1974 for $40,000 and built current hall and old bar in 1974. The contractor on the building was a VFW member Jordan Ridgely and it cost $175,000 to build the original building. The new bar on the north side of the building was added in 1985 and built by another VFW member, Bob Autry for about $60,000. 

(The above information was gathered and presented to an assembly celebrating the post 50th anniversary reunion by Ed Sloan (chairman of the reunion) and Vern Harness (charter member and historian of the reunion). This celebration was held at the Post hall on August 24, 1996.)


​U.S.A Flag Etiquette:

The federal flag code says the universal custom is to display the U.S. flag from sunrise to sunset on buildings and stationary flagstaffs in the open, but when patriotic effect is desired the flag may be displayed 24-hours a day if properly illuminated during the hours of darkness. Also, the U.S. flag should not be displayed when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.
 

Displaying the Flag:

On Same Staff

U.S. Flag at peak, above any other flag.
U.S. Flag goes to its own right. Flags of other nations are flown at same height.
U.S. Flag to marchers right (observer’s left) 

On Speaker’s Platform

When displayed with a speaker’s platform, it must be above and behind the speaker. If mounted on a staff it is on the speaker’s right. 

Never use the flag for decoration. Use bunting with blue on top, then white, then red. 

All persons non-military present should stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, or if applicable, remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart. 

Recent changes in federal law allows veterans to render the military style hand salute during the raising, lowering or passing of the flag. Another new law now allows hand-salute during the national anthem by veterans and out-of-uniform military personnel.

Over a Street Union

Over a Street Union (stars) face north or east depending on the direction of the street. 

On special days, the flag may be flown at half-staff. On Memorial Day it is flown at half-staff until noon and then raised.
Do not let the flag touch the ground.
Do not fly the flag upside down unless there is an emergency.
Do not carry the flag flat, or carry things in it.
Do not use the flag as clothing.
Do not store the flag where it can get dirty.
Do not use the flag as a cover
Do not fasten it or tie it back. Always allow the flag to fall free.
Do not draw on, or otherwise mark the flag. 

Flag Disposal:

The flag should be folded in its customary manner.
It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.
Place the flag on the fire.
The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection.
After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinquished and the ashes buried.
Please make sure you are conforming to local/state fire codes or ordinances.
LET US DISPOSE OF YOUR OLD U.S. FLAGS PROPERLY. A FLAG DISPOSAL BOX IS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE WEST END OF THE CANTEEN ENTRANCE. FLAG.  

FLAG HISTORY

Old Glory:

The name “Old Glory” was first applied to the U.S. flag by a young sea captain who lived in Salem, Mss. On his 21st birthday, March 17, 1824, Capt. William Driver was presented a beautiful flag by his mother and a group of Salem girls. Driver was delighted with the gift and named the flag “Old Glory.” Old glory accompanied the captain on his many sea voyages. In 1837 he quit sailing and settled in Nashville. On patriotic days he displayed the Old Glory proudly from a rope extending from his house to a tree across the street.

After Tennessee seceded from the Union in 1861, Captain driver his Old Glory, sewing it inside a comforter. When the Union soldiers entered Nashville on February 25, 1862, Driver removed Old  Glory from its hiding place. He carried the flag to the capitol building and raised it above the state capitol. Shortly after his death, the old sea captain placed a small bundle into the arms of his daughter. He said to her; “Mary Jane, this is my ship’s flag, Old Glory. It has been my constant companion. I love it as a mother loves her child. Cherish it as I have cherished it.”

The flag remained as a precious heirloom in the driver family until 1922. It was then sent to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C., where it is carefully preserved under glass.

BETSY ROSS

Who designed the original “Stars and Stripes” flag of the United states is a point never definitely confirmed. Was it Betsy Ross, expert Philadelphia seamstress, or New York congressman Francis Hopkinson? The traditional story that Betsy Ross designed the original flag in 1776 has caught the popular fancy but no official record substantiates the story. Some historians claim that in June 1776, Gen. George Washington, Robert Morris and Betsy’s uncle George ross, went to her Philadelphia upholstery shop. The men told her they were members of a congressional committee. They showed her a rough design of a stars and stripe flag and asked her if she would make the emblem. She said yes and recommended making the stars five-pointed instead of six. The change was approved.

George Washington drew another design, and Betsy Ross sewed the emblem. On June 14, 1777, congress adopted it as the official U.S. glag. That is the Betsy Ross story as it is related. However, some sources claim there is no official record of a congressional flag committee. The only documented evidence naming Mrs. Ross is said to be a voucher dated May 29, 1777, showing that she was paid 14 pounds and some shillings for flags she made for the Pennsylvania Navy.

Note: Recent historic research indicates Francis Hopkinson, a consultant to the second continental Congress is responsible for designing the original Stars and Stripes. 

OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM

For more than a century the “Star Spangled Banner,” written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, was sung as a popular patriotic air. From time to time Army and Navy leaders designated it as the national anthem for official occasions. In 1916 President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed it the national anthem. Continuous lobbying by the Veterans of foreign Wars led to Congress designating the song as the official national anthem of the United States on March 3, 1931.

Francis Scott Key practiced law in Baltimore during the War of 1812. In 1814 one of Key’s friends, Dr. Beanes, was held prisoner by the British aboard the ship Minden in Baltimore harbor. Key decided he would try to obtain his friend’s release. Carrying a flag of truce and a letter from President James Madison, Key rowed out to the ship. His request for the friend’s freedom was granted, but both men were detained onboard because the British were about to bombard Fort McHenry.

During the bombardment, Key watched the Stars and Stripes flying over the fort. Darkness fell, and he no longer could see the flag. But the fort kept on firing back at the British, so Key knew the American stronghold had not surrendered.

When daylight returned Key was overjoyed to see that “the flag was still there.” Taking an old envelope from his pocket he wrote the stirring opening words, “O say, can you see by the dawn’s early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?”

After he returned ashore, Key completed the verse, which was later published in the Baltimore American, September 21, 1814. It became popular immediately. Later the words were set to the English “Anacreon in Heaven,” which is the tune we sing today.

History