News

Kitsap doesn’t forget its soldiers

T. C. “Sarge” Christopherson, at front, stands proudly as a musical salute to the armed forces is played by the Clam Island Band during a Veterans Day ceremony Tuesday in Silverdale. Behind Christopherson are retired Army veterans David Alfrey (left) and Bill O’Hara (right) of the Poulsbo American Legion Post. - Photo by Jesse Beals
T. C. “Sarge” Christopherson, at front, stands proudly as a musical salute to the armed forces is played by the Clam Island Band during a Veterans Day ceremony Tuesday in Silverdale. Behind Christopherson are retired Army veterans David Alfrey (left) and Bill O’Hara (right) of the Poulsbo American Legion Post.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Nearly three hundred people crowded into the Silverdale Community Center to commemorate Veterans Day Nov. 11 — as well as honor the men and women currently serving overseas.

It also became an informal salute to Bob Sauter, the retired Army command sergeant major — who is Kitsap County’s “veteran of veterans.” Sauter is recovering from complications of diabetes, including a foot amputation, and was unable to attend.

“You’ll have to bear with me,” said Sauter’s wife Kathryn, “this was written (by Bob) when he was in the hospital.”

She read:

“The guns ceased firing. Silence. Welcome to the 85th anniversary of Veterans Day,” wrote Bob Sauter. The message mentioned the ideals of freedom, justice and democracy, and mentioned the legacy of “our beliefs in mankind.”

It ended with “This Veterans Day, I salute and honor all service members serving around the globe protecting our families, our country, and our beliefs as people of a freedom-loving nation.”

Everyone not already standing stood for the passing of the color guard, invocation and pledge of allegiance. The keynote speaker was Susan Weaver, a teacher at Vinland Elementary School in North Kitsap.

“I believe this ceremony should be very patriotic — since I don’t believe there’s enough patriotism in our country these days,” she said.

“Not many know it, but a man named John Dickinson wrote what is considered the first patriotic song for the new country. He wrote the song in 1768, and many believed he named the nation — United States of America.”

She said this and other, better known patriotic songs speak to old and new crises the nation has faced. She said Dickinson also coined the term, “United we stand, divided we fall” in one of his songs.

She read President John Kennedy’s famous quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”

The Clam Island Band played “God Bless America.” Recognition was given to vets Carlson Funderburk, Sandra D. Johnson and Gene Hanson. Veterans Day queen was announced — Paulette Funderburk.

There was a salute to the fallen, the playing of taps by bugler Wayne Matz, and a salute from State Sen. Paull Shin to both veterans in general and Bob Sauter.

“I wish to congratulate all the veterans, whether from World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, our current conflict,” Shin said.

Shin was invited to many celebrations on Tuesday, but chose Kitsap County’s because of his friend Sauter.

“My (adoptive) father has been gone now 20 years, but Bob reminded me of my father,” Shin said. “I was brought here from the rice fields of Korea, to be educated, to be elected to the state Senate. When I’d get a hug from Bob, it would feel like that first hug I got from my (American) father, on that hilltop in Korea.”

The senator was orphaned by the Korean war.

Those involved in the event also included VFW Auxiliary 239, Knights of Columbus, Kitsap County Parks & Recreation, VFW 2669 (gun salute), and the Fleet Reserve Association.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Jul 25 edition online now. Browse the archives.