Thanks for flying the flag

  • Mon Dec 6th, 2010 9:56pm
  • News

By Debra Smith Herald Writer

EVERETT — There’s something heart-stirring about a U.S. flag hung smartly next to someone’s doorstep.

And today, 69 years after the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, it’s an especially potent sign of patriotism, of pride, of freedom.

This year the Everett Elks Lodge No. 479 came up with a new way to recognize people for flying Old Glory.

They started leaving a little something on Everett doorsteps: a framed photo of homes they spot with American flags.

The Elks don’t care what neighborhood folks live in. This isn’t about having the fanciest house or the nicest lawn.

“It’s about flying the flag because you’re proud of your country and you support it,” said Jeanne Olsen-Estie, chairwoman of the Elks’ Americanism Committee.

So far she and other volunteers have given out dozens of the photos to homes and businesses.

Some of the people who received them say that simple act was a powerful one.

Linnea Covington came home from work one day and found the framed photo on the doorstep of her north Everett home.

“It was so sweet,” she said. “I literally cried. It was a nice thing they did.”

Olsen-Estie came up with the idea to present the photos.

Sometimes she never meets the person behind the flag. Sometimes she learns a flag flying above a certain home belonged to a child, a spouse, a parent who served in the military. It might have once been draped over a coffin.

She knows that feeling and respects it. She lost her 19-year-old brother when she was teen. He was a U.S. Navy diver.

“I have strong heart strings for our country,” she said.

The Elks do plenty of other things to promote Americanism. They plant flags on veterans’ graves, hand out flags at parades and even replace soiled or tattered flags they spot around the community.

Something about this particular gesture seems to touch people.

Candy Wells-Sehorn flies an American flag at her home and in front of her business, Bayview Antique Mall, on Hewitt Avenue. Olsen-Estie of the Elks hand delivered her framed photo.

“I’ve always thought it was important,” Wells-Sehorn said. “I was flattered. It was nice to be recognized.”

Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or dsmith@heraldnet.com.