VFW Post 423 was name in honor of two men, Ernest Graf and Frank O'Hara. Both were killed during World War I.
Ernest W. Graf, born March 17, 1894 in Karlsruhe, Germany. His family came to Ann Arbor, Michigan when Ernest was at an early age.
Ernest was studying to be an
electrician when he enlisted in the US Army at age 19 on April 20, 1912,
having served during the Mexican Border Wars with the Co. B, 29th
Infantry he was discharged on April 19, 1915.
After returning home and on the eve of World War One, Ernest once again enlisted in the US Army, having worked his way to the rank of Sergeant
while serving with Co. E, 126th Infantry Regiment, 32nd Infantry
Division. During the Mesue-Argonne Offensive in France. Ernest W. Graf
was killed in action on October 4,1918. Ernest was laid to rest in
Fairview Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
To read a letter written by Sergeant Graff and mailed home on August 12, 1918 click on his picture (left) or click here. The letter appeared in what was then the Daily Times News in Ann Arbor.
Frank (Frances) Dignan O'Hara, was born in Ann Arbor, September 1897. Frank was raised in Ann Arbor attending St. Thomas High School.
Frank enlisted in The US Marine Corps
on April 10, 1918. He when to boot camp at Parris Island, SC. Frank was
stationed at Ft. Crockett, TX. before going overseas. Frank arrived in
France in August 1918 serving with Co. G, 5th Marine Regiment. He was
wounded on November 5, 1918, with a
gun shot wound to his right hand. He was hospitalize November 5th
through the 8th. Upon release from the hospital Frank was assigned to
the 51st Co., 5th Marine Regiment, 2nd US Army Infantry Division.
Frank D. O'Hara was killed in action
on November 11, 1918 during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. He died on the
afternoon of the day the Armistice took affect at 11:00 am.
Frank D. O'Hara was laid to rest in St. Thomas Cemetery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The above information is from the Post history research done by long time Post member, past Quarter Master, and Legacy Life Member, Milton Davis.
The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War
(1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local
organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: Many
arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans'
pension for them,and they were left to care for themselves.
In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed
organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign
Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado
and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915,
membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.
Since then, the VFW's voice had been instrumental in establishing
the Veterans Administration, creating a GI bill for the 20th century,
the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for
compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans
diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW won a long-fought victory
with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded
educational benefits to America's active-duty service members, and
members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical centers services for women veterans.
Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World
War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became
the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new
Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010.
Annually, the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and its
Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in
the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and
National Volunteer Week.
From providing over $3 million in college scholarships and savings
bonds to students every year, to encouraging elevation of the Department
of Veterans Affairs to the president's cabinet, the VFW is there.