American pride flies in Little Norway

POULSBO — It was a ceremony as American as Ray Charles and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts — something that didn’t escape those who gathered at the Dancing Brush Friday to introduce the city’s newest and most unique flag.

So, when Christina Veatch and Carmen Richards held up Little Norway’s tribute to those who serve our country and communities as firefighters and police officers it wasn’t, surprising that the crowd smiled appreciatively.

Part of this may have been due to the fact the majority of those gathered at the “Vessels of Honor” dedication were members of the Poulsbo Police and Fire Departments. But in the wake of the nation’s tragedy on Sept. 11, the heartfelt thanks went even deeper.

“I know we were all very traumatized on Sept. 11,” said Veatch, who owns the Dancing Brush. “These are different times for our country.”

Like many Americans, she was uncertain how to show her patriotism as an individual and a business owner. That’s where Richards came in.

Shortly after the terrorist attacks on New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. the two agreed that it was important to show not only how proud they were to live in the United States but how they felt about those public servants who risk their lives so that others may live.

Veatch explained that the tradition of firefighting was a strong one in her family, a brother and her father have both served in that capacity. She added that, on a recent visit to the east coast, she also came to “love New York.”

“There’s just a lot of spirit in that city,” Veatch explained.

After the terrorist act, she and Richards settled on the idea for the Vessels of Honor, inviting both local firefighters and police officers to express their feelings about their careers and the public to offer thoughts on the men and women who protect their community day in and day out.

“This studio is a place of expression,” Veatch said, noting that she was very pleased to see a good turnout for the project before telling the group, “It was very touching for us to see how much you mean to them.”

After the tile flag was unveiled, it was the fire department’s turn to give thanks.

“This is really an honor for us... all of us,” Poulsbo Fire Marshall Tom Huddleston remarked. “If anything good came out of this (tragedy) it’s the resurgence of patriotism. It seems like people are getting by the embarrassment of being patriotic.”

Looking over at the encouraging words written on various tiles of the red, white and blue, Huddleston paused before adding, “We’re going to display this with a great deal of pride.”

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of our firefighters and police officers — I’d put them up against anyone else,” he said.

Veatch led the group in a short prayer for our nation before putting on the melody that has recently become ensconced in the soul of the United States, Ray Charles’ rendition of “America the Beautiful.”

Richards then presented the group with some Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, ensuring that those sworn to protect, serve and save the citizens of Poulsbo were not only honored at the ceremony but well fed.

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