Guest speakers at a Flag Day ceremony at Mercer Island’s Covenant Shores retirement community showed residents examples of patriotism in Seattle, and across the country.
Mike Flood, retired U.S. Coast Guard commander and vice president of community outreach for the Seattle Seahawks, highlighted some of the ways the team honors military members and their families, and touched on the controversy with the national anthem and the National Football League.
Author Karen Robbins displayed a few of the 300 images of Old Glory in her new book, “Flags Across America,” but not before Flood showed photos of another familiar flag in the Seattle area: the 12 flag.
Flood said that the team sends 12 flags to fans serving abroad, as they “love their connection to home through their sports teams.”
On game day, the Seahawks often invite veterans, military members and their families to join players on the field before the game. On Military Appreciation Day, one veteran, Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry, led the team out of the tunnel. Another, Lt. Col. Barbara Nichols, raised the 12 flag as part of the NFL’s annual Salute to Service month. Nichols, 95, served in three wars in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
Flood said that one of the Seahawks players, who chose not to stand for the national anthem, invited Gold Star families to the games last season and paid for their tickets.
“I hope that in the coming years, the focus is on unity, and taking the awareness that may have been generated to unite everyone around a common good and a common cause,” he said.
In the spirit of unity, and especially in the wake of 9/11, Robbins and her co-author and professional photographer Dale Baskin, decided to compile a book about the American flag. Many of the photos and art in the book are accompanied by inspiring stories of patriotism throughout U.S. history.
Each year, Covenant Shores honors Flag Day, which commemorates the adoption of the U.S. flag in 1777. Residents start celebrating on Memorial Day by decorating the entire campus with the red, white and blue, leaving it all up until just after Flag Day. On June 14, streets within the campus were lined with American flags, and residents had them flying from their apartment home balconies.
At the ceremony, they said the Pledge of Allegiance, and sang patriotic songs like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful.”
See www.covenantshores.org for more on the senior living community.