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'There's no word to explain it.'

The tribal drum group Tiyospaye sings “Veterans Honoring Song” during a Veterans Day ceremony sponsored by the Kitsap County Human Rights Council at Island Lake Park on Monday. The event was held near the Garden of Memory and Hope that Kitsap County built to honor those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. - Photo by Tracey Cooper
The tribal drum group Tiyospaye sings “Veterans Honoring Song” during a Veterans Day ceremony sponsored by the Kitsap County Human Rights Council at Island Lake Park on Monday. The event was held near the Garden of Memory and Hope that Kitsap County built to honor those who lost their lives during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
— image credit: Photo by Tracey Cooper

Emotions poured forth at the shore of Island Lake Park Monday, Nov. 11, as a gathering of about 20 people honored the millions who have served this country.

The ceremony, sponsored by the Kitsap County Human Rights Council, was held at 11 a.m. at the Garden of Memory and Hope.

“I spent four and a half years in the Army and 13 months in Vietnam I sort of have this kindred spirit with all the vets that have served overseas,” said Leif Bentsen, who with fellow councilmember “Chop” Llamzon organized the event.

Llamzon spent 30 years in the Navy and considers Veterans Day a chance to remember those who did not come home. Sunday night he watched a show about the Vietnam Memorial Wall and it brought back memories of his own trip to the monument in 1997.

‘Just standing there, it’s amazing. It’s hard to explain your emotions. It’s so emotional,” Llamzon said.

The ceremony in Central Kitsap was not without its tears as CK High School senior Jason Jennings played Taps.

“My whole family was in the military. I just kind of think about how proud I am that my family took part in it, “ Jennings said before his performance.

Lorraine Lopez of Silverdale was one among the group who braved the frigid breeze whipping over the lake. Last year she attended the Veterans Day ceremony at Retsil in Port Orchard.

She wanted to honor the veterans, especially now when the nation sits on the brink of war with Iraq.

“We don’t honor our vets enough,” she said.

Bentsen welcomed the group.

“I don’t know if I can say this without tears,” he said. “I am a veteran and very proud of it,” Bentsen said.

Jennings then played Taps followed by a performance from the Tiyospaye drum circle. They performed a Veterans Honoring Song and the Bear Healing Song.

“There’s no words to explain it,” said Riki Jacobs, of Tiyospaye when asked what the day meant to her.

“All I can tell is that Native people always honor their veterans,” she said. “ And for us, no Native person has ever mocked a Vietnam veteran.”

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