"Vets honor flag, fallen comrades"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:31 AM
"Richard Baugous had just finished breakfast on the USS California when the bombing started on Dec. 7, 1941I heard the racket going on, and felt the first torpedo hit the ship, the Pearl Harbor survivor said Thursday during special Flag Day ceremonies at Kitsap Mall. Baugous made his way to the turret of the 14-inch gun to which he was assigned as an electrician. But the ship's power was out after two torpedoes hit.It was a helpless feeling, an eerie feeling sitting in the dark behind a 14-inch gun, knowing you're getting hit and not being able to do anything about it, Baugous was quoted on a special poster at a display devoted to Pearl Harbor survivors and history.The display will be up at the mall's center court through July 4.The California sank, but was later raised and returned to Puget Sound, according to Baugous's wife, Lorraine.Baugous, of Port Orchard, was one of several guests and speakers at the ceremony, sponsored by the Kitsap County Veterans Coalition and Fleet Reserve Association Branch 29.A crowd of close to 200 people filled the center court Thursday, some in Navy uniforms, many wearing caps with veterans' organization insignia.Baugous didn't speak during the ceremony, but several people asked to have their pictures taken with him in front of his display case afterward.The case contained one framed display of pennies, an oil-soaked dollar and other items in Baugous's locker. They were still in the locker when the California was raised. The ceremony also included an essay contest in which third and fourth graders were asked to explain what the flag meant to them.John Bud Hawk, a Medal of Honor recipients and retired Central Kitsap School District teacher, made his own award to the shortest essay winner. He gave the girl the still-folded flag that was presented to him with his Medal of Honor.The medal, he said, was for honorable service in defense of this country. It doesn't belong to me. I'm charged with it. I'm not a hero unless you count the 16-20 ... people who served with me.What I see when I look at this are the people I lost. They'll always be there, he said.There was a little unplanned drama when keyboardest Bud Schultz slumped over his keyboard at one point. Several sailors rushed to his aid, and helped him to a nearby bench while mall security called for paramedics.But Schultz recovered enough to be able to play for soloist Karen Shivers for God Bless America.Essay contest winners included third-graders Cooper Hartman and Victoria Cartwright of Tracyton Elementary, Christopher Bossom and Noelle Cox of Jackson Park Elementary, and Joseph T. Vautour and Jessa Dean of West Hills Elementary. Peace Lutheran third-graders Mikal Soo R. Pulse and Vincent Rubio and fourth-graders Tara Patton and Troy Miles also were honored. One boy and one girl from each school FRA visited this year were honored. "