Before World War II, Fairfax was just a bucolic little southern county with only four high schools. When Veterans returned to America, they saw radical change, and specifically to Fairfax County, an area that was experiencing unprecedented growth.
In early 1946, World War I Navy veteran Karl O. Spiess gathered ten to twelve area veterans to begin organizing a new VFW Post. By October, they had gathered 106 (Charter) members and they obtained their official charter from the VFW National Headquarters.
Karl became our first Commander. At the urging of a young Pacific theater veteran, Fred Kielsguard, the newly returned members named their new VFW Post 8469, “The Blue and Gray Post,” after the area’s famed 29th Infantry Division which took such heavy casualties on D-Day in Normandy and later during the fight to the Rhine. Lieutenant Horace Henderson of the 6th Engineer Special Brigade, said of the Omaha Beach on June 7th, 1944, “I noticed that nothing moved on the beach except one bulldozer. The beach was covered with debris, sunken craft, and wrecked vehicles. Then we saw that the beach was literally covered with the bodies of American soldiers wearing the Blue and Gray patches of the 29th Infantry Division.”
In the time since our Post was chartered in October of 1946, Fairfax County has grown to a population of over a million and is generally acknowledged as being among one of the most prosperous communities in the nation. And since 1946, successive new generations of Americans have returned home to Fairfax County after having fought overseas in our nation’s wars.
For years, beginning in the mid to late 1950’s generations of veterans met around the old pot-belly stove in Hubert Dulaney’s old Fairfax Hardware Store, exchanged stories, made plans, and built new lives in a fast growing community. Hubert recruited them into our Post. In 1987 the Post took possession of our current Home, originally built in 1899 (the same year as the VFW began). The Post Home itself isn’t much. There is no bar. No smoking is allowed inside. But if you come to a meeting and eat a meal with us, you’ll immediately see that the “Post” is NOT the building. Rather, it is the pillars — the veterans themselves who support each other, their community, their nation, the Post building, and are themselves human monuments to the history they have lived and shaped — that are the living, breathing heart of our Post.
The VFW is the largest organization of combat veterans in the country. Each of our members has gone overseas and served. They survived brutal combat, came home, and they remember the fallen, as well as the widows and orphans of their comrades, while they work for the good of the community. The work of the organization is centered entirely on service to others, but qualification is based entirely on the common experience of deploying overseas in time of combat.