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Thousands attend dedication of Kitsap Veterans Memorial

The booming roar of a EA-6B Prowler Jet flying overhead from Naval Air Station, Whidbey Island kicked off the dedication of the new Veterans Memorial in Silverdale on Saturday.

Despite the rain and wind, the raising of each service flag to the sound of its anthem helped dedicate the long awaited Veterans Memorial. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine were all represented as each flag was raised.

This day at the Kitsap Veterans Memorial was three years in the making. The $200,000 project, spearheaded by the Silverdale Sunrise Rotary Club and the Home Builders Association of Kitsap County, brought together more than 70 organizations and businesses bringing the job from start to finish. All materials and labor used were donated.

“Through this process we’ve heard countless stories and met many special people along the way,” said Bill Wright, president of Silverdale Sunrise Rotary Club. “This is truly a special and long-awaited day, we are here to celebrate one another and here to celebrate the veterans who have served this great country,” he said.

Suquamish Tribe Elder, James Pratt, a U.S. Coast Guard veteran and the last great-great grandson of Chief Seattle, blessed the site. He first gave the blessing in Lushootseed, the native language of the Suquamish tribe, and then in English.

“On this day we come together to pay our respects to our fallen protectors, we honor these fallen veterans,” Pratt said in his speech.

Wright shared how the project came to be and how the idea soon turned into reality and explained how the local Rotary Club quickly forged a partnership with the Home Builders Association. He also said the project would not have been possible without the help of the many contributors.

“If service above self is the Rotary’s principal motto then it was borrowed from the inspiration of the men and women who have served our country,” he said. “Today we honor all veterans of all branches of the United States Armed Forces.”

He told the veterans, “We can never repay you for your dedication and sacrifices made to defend our freedoms. However we hope that in some small way you will know that you are recognized and appreciated for that service through this memorial.”

For those who were unable to make it to the dedication ceremony or if you would like to see it again, Bremerton Kitsap Access Television taped the dedication and will air it on Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

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