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Posted: January 25, 2023 --- by Post Commander, Carl "Chris" Christophersen

 The following is from the 1st page of the "Cliff notes” version of the book "First Principles” in the "Members Only” section.



The U.S. "Senate" meets in the "The Capitol” --- both terms come from ancient Rome. "Republican” is a name derived from Latin; "Democrat” is a word of Greek origin. East of the Capitol is the U.S. Supreme Court which meets in a marbled 1935 imitation of a Roman Temple, with bronze doors weighing 26,000 lbs. each. To the west stands the Lincoln Memorial, which resembles the Parthenon of Athens, Greece and the Jefferson Memorial, which borrows from Rome’s Pantheon.


On the reverse side of a $1 bill, you will see, in very small print, 3 Latin phrases:

1.   Annuit Coeptis --- "Our undertakings are favored”

2.   Novus Ordo Seclorum --- "new order of the ages”

3.   E pluribus Unum --- "Out of many, one”


Overlooking New York Harbor, towers a statue of a Roman goddess named "Libertas” --- better known as "The statue of Liberty”.


Classical ancient (Rome & Greece) knowledge ultimately steered the Founders wrong on 3 critical issues:


1.   Whether the new nation could subsist on "public virtue” --- which relies on the self-restraint of those in power to act for the common good and not their personal interest. It was a proposition that would be tested almost instantly during the War for Independence (aka the Revolutionary War).


2.   On party politics, which the classical writers taught them to regard as unnatural and abhorrent. Their misunderstanding of partisanship, or "faction”, as they tended to call it, nearly wrecked the new Republic in the 1790s.


3.   Most troubling, was their acceptance of slavery, which would prove very destructive to the nation they designed. Often seeing it as part of the social order, they wrote it into the fundamental law of the nation, and so sustained a system that was inhumane, and rested on a foundation of physical and sexual abuse.




{Editor's Note: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all grew up in a society that accepted African-American slavery as normal. It was "built in" to their psyche.}

Six years before James Madison was born, his great uncle burned a slave woman at the stake for attempting to poison her owner. Some of George Washington's "famous false teeth” came from slaves --- who had their teeth pulled out of their living jaws. When Thomas Jefferson was President, he received a report that his plantation’s lucrative nail-making shop output had improved after "the small ones” working there (slave boys aged 10 to 12) had been whipped.


Americans, especially southerners, were fond of noting that both the Romans and the Greeks embraced systems of slavery. In the New World, slavery became more pernicious with slaves defined as less than human. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1857, in the Dred Scott decision, that black people, whether enslaved or freed, were social outcasts who were not citizens and in fact could never become so.  Chief Justice Roger Taney wrote that they were "beings of an inferior order” who "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  

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Posted: January 22, 2023 --- by Post Commander, Carl "Chris" Christophersen

Thom Fermstad is doing much better. His breathing is getting easier which is a good sign. I delivered a donation our Post recieved for over $2,000 so Thom could educate me on how he handles those in the Post Ledger. He sounds and looks good. He will not drive yet because he is still taking certain drugs that make driving unsafe.


He, along with Connie (his wife) are planning to spend 4 months a year at their lakeside air-conditioned cabin in Iowa starting this upcoming spring which is why he will not be accepting the nomination for QM this coming March-April. 

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Posted: January 12, 2023 --- by Post Commander, Carl "Chris" Christophersen

This is an excerpt from the book "First Principles":



During the runup to the Constitutional Convention, the youngest of our 4 Founders, James Madison, had been reporting regularly to the oldest, George Washington, on the preparations for the meeting. The following 1787 spring, the young politician kept the former General posted on the state of ratification in various States, writing to him 10 times that year and another 21 times in the first 7 months of 1788.


In just a few months between October 1787 and March 1788, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, with some contributions from John Jay, wrote and produced the Federalist Papers. They brought a new perspective. Hamilton and Madison, the younger founders, differed from their elders in their relationship to classicalism. They were very well acquainted with the ancient classical texts --- but had less faith in the classical values therein.


In the 85 Federalist papers, there were twice as many references to Greeks as to Romans. As early as 1775, Hamilton had mused that "it is not safe to trust the virtue of any people." At the Constitutional Convention, he had elaborated on that thought: "We must take man as we find him. A reliance on pure patriotism has been the source of many of our errors." The pillar of "virtue" had fallen.


When James Madison wrote about virtue, it often was not to invoke it, but to emphasize that it is a finite resource in humans. For example, in Federalist 53 he refers to "the period within which human virtue can bear the temptations of power." He was not saying that humans are wicked and have no virtue --- just that virtue alone is insufficient. Madison's most extraordinary contribution was Federalist 10 published November 22, 1787. In it, he attacked the conventional classical republican view that to pursue one’s own interest was to violate public spirit. Madison said:


"Do not waste your energies, fighting party and faction. They will always be there. The causes of faction cannot be removed. Relief is only to be sought in the means of controlling its effects. The way you do that is to harness its energies by involving the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of government.”


In other words, use one man’s interest against another’s. The more interests that are in play in the political arena, the smaller the chance that one intense passion will prevail. Madison continued:


"Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests, you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it, to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other.


So, Madison argues, that the larger the Republic, the more such checks will exist:


"The extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage. The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States.” In such "a well-constructed Union”, he argued, there will be a "tendency to break and control the violence of faction.”  


James Madison was saying that in making checks & balances the heart of the American system: 


"Constant experience shows us that every man invested with power is apt to abuse it … To prevent this abuse, it is necessary from the very nature of things, power should be a check on power.”


James Madison was not done with the ancient world, returning in Federalist 18 to the subject of the Amphictyonic Council, arguing that its structure exacerbated tensions between member cities. He said:


"It happened too often that the deputies of the strongest cities, awed and corrupted those of the weaker, and that judgement went in favor of the most powerful party.” Among other things, this was a reason for giving smaller cities the ability to resist coercion. Athens and Sparta "inflated with the victories and the glory they had acquired, became first rivals and then enemies. That led to the eventual destruction of Athens,” he noted. "Their mutual jealousies, fears, hatreds and injuries, ended in the celebrated Peloponnesian war, which itself ended in the ruin and slavery of the Athenians who had begun it.”  

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