Neighbors challenged to put patriotism, flags on display

Across the United States, it’s a tradition and a tribute to display Old Glory on Independence Day. In one Everett neighborhood, flying the U.S. flag is also a competitive exercise.

Clinton Seal, a 32-year-old elementary school teacher, proudly flies the national symbol outside his north Everett home. Smaller American flags line a garden in his front yard. And the Stars and Stripes are replicated in a banner hanging from his house.

This week, Seal has challenged others in Everett’s Northwest Neighborhood to show their patriotic spirit by flying the flag.

“I see those signs coming into the city, showing Everett as an All-America City,” Seal said. In 2002, the city was among those honored by the National Civic League with an All-America City Award. “What if we looked down the block, and everybody on the block had an American flag? That would be so cool,” Seal said.

The Northwest Neighborhood is one of 19 in Everett represented on the city’s Council of Neighborhoods. West of Broadway and north of 19th Street, it is bordered by the waterfront on the city’s western edge and by the Snohomish River.

Seal’s pitch for patriotism was in a recent Northwest Neighborhood Association newsletter. Sent via email to neighborhood residents, the newsletter asked, “Who has the most patriotic block in the Northwest Neighborhood?”

To join in the grass-roots flag competition, it’s up to neighbors to email pictures of their flag-festooned blocks to Seal at chsbruin00@hotmail.com.

“Clinton will judge the blocks based on the photos received — or he might go have a look at your block himself,” the newsletter said. The Northwest Neighborhood has held other contests, including one for Halloween decorations.

A teacher at Olivia Park Elementary School in the Mukilteo district, Seal promises more than bragging rights for residents of the block deemed most patriotic. He plans to bake cookies or scones for the Northwest Neighborhood block flying the most flags.

“I love baking and cooking,” he said. A member of Historic Everett, he recently baked pies for a meeting of the preservation group’s board.

His own house is already a winner. Seal’s small but lovingly restored Craftsman Bungalow on Oakes Avenue was recognized in 2012 with a Monte Cristo Award for Pride of the Neighborhood. The city’s Council of Neighborhoods chooses winners of the annual awards from properties nominated by the community. Awards are given in three categories: Rejuvenation and Transformation, Pride of the Neighborhood, and Neighborhood Friendly Business.

Built in 1918, Seal’s 856-square-foot house also was featured on the 2013 Historic Everett Tour of Homes.

“I love this part of Everett — think of all the history. It has a timeless feel you just don’t get in other places,” said Seal, who grew up in Everett’s Silver Lake area.

The Northwest Neighborhood group’s newsletter noted that the area is a “gateway” to the city’s Colors of Freedom Festival on Friday at Legion Memorial Park. “Let’s show everyone our colors,” it said.

“I just love the colors flying, and the patriotism this time of year,” Seal said. He didn’t serve in the military, but said his grandfather was in the Army and his dad served in the Air Force.

“Everett is a military town. It’s something to be proud of,” he said. “It’s America’s birthday. Let’s celebrate — let’s get our flags out.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Flag-flying photos

Residents of Everett’s Northwest Neighborhood, west of Broadway and north of 19th Street, are being asked by neighbor Clinton Seal to fly American flags outside their homes this week. In a contest to find the neighborhood’s most patriotic block, Seal is asking that pictures of neighborhood streets with flags flying be emailed to: chsbruin00@hotmail.com

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