Port Townsend facility's flagpole inaugurated in 9/11 ceremony
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Korean War Veteran Kenneth Shaver, 83, a resident of Victoria House in Port Townsend, is assisted by maintenance technician Kyle Phillips in raising the flag on Wednesday as East Jefferson Fire Rescue personnel salute.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — The Victoria House care facility Wednesday marked the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, using a newly installed flagpole, with a commemoration that was attended by local fire and police representatives.

About 35 people, including Port Townsend Police Department and East Jefferson Fire-Rescue personnel, attended the five-minute ceremony at at 491 Discovery Road.

Korean War veteran Kenneth Shaver, 83, a resident of the facility, raised the flag with the help of maintenance technician Kyle Phillips. They then lowered it to half-staff.

The Pledge of Allegiance was said and the national anthem sung.

“It's humbling to know that members of the community respect us and appreciate our efforts,” said Bill Beezley of East Jefferson Fire-Rescue.

“Sept. 11 has morphed into a national day of respect and honor for people in law enforcement and fire service as well as a remembrance of what happened in 2001,” said Beezley, the fire-rescue spokesman.

A total of 2,996 people were killed when hijacked jets crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa.

Residents of the care facility had requested a new flagpole, and its inauguration was scheduled to coincide with the date of the tragedies, which was observed across the country.

“This is something that our residents said they wanted, and we decided to turn it into a remembrance,” said Mendy Short, the facility's residence sales manager.

No formal remarks were made, but residents talked about the nation's values.

Marjorie Carpentier, 92, had worked for the Army Signal Corps in World War II and could not talk about her mission for 60 years.

She said people today are more willing to speak out than in the past.

“The president has gotten more power and the ability to say what he thinks, and people disagree with him,” she said.

“A lot of people don't think like he does, but we can backtalk the president and still love our country.”

World War II veteran Dudley Merk, 90, also said freedom of speech is one of the nation's most important rights.

The care facility houses 30 residents, only seven of whom are men, so the influx of mostly male police and firefighters visiting prompted 90-year-old resident Phyllis Bowden to take notice.

“It's nice to have all you kids around,” Bowden said to the visitors.

“Usually, all you see in these places are ladies, and that can get tiresome.”

Bowden had mixed feelings about the ceremony.

“It's so sad,” she said.

“But it's good they are making this day important so all those people didn't die for nothing.”

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 11. 2013 6:05PM
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