Final salute at the VFW

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tuesday marked the end of a building that housed many memories and heard many war stories. Demolition finally started on the old VFW hall on Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau.

Since 1947, the building that used to be a motorcycle shop has housed VFW Post 3838. Some members of the organization who came out to see the destruction remember when the old hall first became a gathering spot for local veterans.

"It was a bittersweet thing," said auxiliary member Glenneta Vogelsang. Her husband, Calvin, has been a member of the local VFW for 63 years, and she's been a member for 53 years. He's a past state commander who served on numerous national committees, and she's a former national auxiliary president.

"I can remember when we air-conditioned it," Vogelsang said. "We thought it was wonderful." That was in 1954, she said.

The 1,900-member organization's new hall next door opened earlier this month. A grand opening is scheduled for April 2.

The Vogelsangs and others, including William Ogle Sr. and his son, took parts of the old structure as souvenirs. The Vogelsangs took a brick from the front of the building, and Ogle took the large "W" from VFW.

Ogle said a lot of memories were housed in the old building, but he welcomes the new hall because of the problems that were plaguing the organization's old sanctuary.

"It had just gotten to the point where it was going to need a lot of work," he said. The new hall, he said, "is wonderful."

To Vogelsang, the old hall has followed the life cycle of the men who made it a home for the VFW, the World War II generation.

"A lot of people who put a lot of things into it are gone now," said Vogelsang. "So many of the World War II guys are no longer here. They built the place into what it was."

335-6611, extension 182

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