For over 100 years, wfla has been sharing its strengths and challenges through the Fraternal Herald or as it was known the Bratsky Vestnik. Below are excerpts from interesting times in history. First, the start of WWII and in 1970 when WFLA prepared to change our name.
Flashback Article from 1942: Western and WWII
January 1942 “We stand on the threshold of a new year; confronted by the gravity of war…Apprehension, worry, and sorrow will stalk our members. These facts are inevitable, but not one of our organization will be so selfish as to wish that his life remain untouched by this country’s needs, and no member will be so lethargic that he will not aid these needs to the best of his abilities. No work or sacrifice will be too great, and no work or sacrifice will be too trivial for us to do…Permeating and enveloping every task will be the knowledge that each is working among congenial, true, and interested friends in the fraternity of our Association.”
February 1942 “An indication of a willing response to our country’s needs is evident in the correspondence columns this month. Almost every letter mentions a lodge purchase of defense stamps and bonds, a Red Cross contribution, or plans for activities to raise funds for these purposes.”
September 1942 “Wencil Lippert reports that forty-three members of Cedar Rapids Lodge No. 262 are serving Uncle Sam….mothers, wives, sweethearts, sisters, and friends – are actively participating in the war effort, too: folding Red Cross bandages; writing news of home to boys at camp and overseas; co-operating with the civilian defense program: collecting scrap for salvage drives;…in short, doing all in their power to back up the boys.”
Flashback Article from 1970: Changing Our Name
A fascinating article in the January 1970 Fraternal Herald is a message from the Treasurer, Geo J. Shultz. He wrote in the article his changed stance on renaming, what was then, “Western Bohemian Life Association.” He says, “No doubt you will be surprised when I tell you that I and many others who formerly were opposed to it now are in favor of changing the name. It is good to dream of the past, but we must be awake to the present! We are living in a changing world. Our love for the Bohemian (Czech) people, our love of working together and for each other’s benefit have not changed, but time has changed the condition of our beloved fatherland. We know the people themselves are not Communists but their rulers are. It is a fact that prospective insurance buyers often hesitate, in fact even refuse to buy insurance from us, because they associate “Bohemian” (Czech) with Communism. This fact leads me to believe that, in spite of the fact that our love of the Bohemian (Czech) people and the fine heritage we have will never change, it is truly time to change the name of the society.” The members heeded this advice and at the 1971 Convention, our name was changed to Western Fraternal Life Association.
For more historical article about how Western Fraternal Life was involved with WWII see the Bohemians and the Bombers.