A weekend of more flags and fewer fireworks? | Life in Ludlow

Ned Luce
Posted 7/6/22

It was Independence Day and I had hoped for lots of flags and fireworks.  

There were lots of flags but maybe fewer fireworks since it was damp and the local stand pulled out.  

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A weekend of more flags and fewer fireworks? | Life in Ludlow


It was Independence Day and I had hoped for lots of flags and fireworks. 

There were lots of flags but maybe fewer fireworks since it was damp and the local stand pulled out. 

There are always stories from the flag project of the East Jefferson Rotary Club around this time every year. Local subscribers donate to the scholarship program supported by the club and in turn U.S flags are erected on four holidays each year. It used to be five holidays but the usually inclement weather on Presidents’ Day in February prompted a rational withdrawal to four holidays. 

Last weekend saw 20 Rotarians and Rotary friends install around 330 flags across East Jefferson County. As with most projects, other issues seem to arise each year. 

When this project began about 10 years ago, former local resident and Rotary luminary, Larry Howland came to me imploring me to get some flags installed in Port Ludlow so that “word of mouth” advertising might spread interest and financial support of the program. 

I enlisted seven Rotarians to donate the money to put the first 14 flags at the curve on Oak Bay Road above the marina. I then went to Diana Smeland, president of Port Ludlow Associates, and asked her to make the supporting donation in the following years. She enthusiastically agreed and PLA has made that donation every year since, providing the initial impetus for the expansion of the program in Port Ludlow, Chimacum, and Port Hadlock. 

A few years after the program started, vandals stole several flags from the location above the marina. The principal at Chimacum High posted the vandalism on her Facebook page, the story was picked up by the Peninsula Daily News and then picked up by one of the Seattle TV stations. 

The TV station sent a reporter to Port Ludlow to interview the president of the Rotary Club at that time, me. 

Fortunately, an anonymous local donor put $400 on the principal’s desk to replace the flags. 

In addition, another local called to tell me he might be able to get the flags returned. 

A few days later the flags showed up on my porch, we did not know who made the $400 donation, and the reviews for the president’s TV appearance led to him never being asked for a TV interview again. Win, win, win!

I have enjoyed the camaraderie of the flag project every year as I am on a team with local non-Rotarian Howard Strong. 

Regular readers know that I recently got a new hip and I had hoped the titanium and ceramic inserts would be ready for the Independence Day effort. Alas, the folks at Active Life have not yet prepared me sufficiently for the physicality required by the carrying and installing of the flags. Well, it is either that or more likely my advancing age! 

In any case, I explained my malady to Howard and he enlisted the able assistance of his wife Patti to substitute for me. 

Of course, the truth is that for the past couple of years when Howard and I have been putting up the flags we have commiserated on the conditions of our backs, hips, attitudes etc. Consequently, I can’t really confirm it, but Patti may have been doing the brunt of the work anyway. 

Hey, I appreciate the help, the Rotary Club appreciates the help, and the recipients of the scholarships awarded by the club appreciate the help. 

Congratulations to the students earning those scholarships this year: Ava Vaughn-Mifsud, Akita Anderson, Ava Amos and Jacob Richardson. 

The “Rotary Year” runs from July 1 through June 30. As you might suspect new officers are installed when the year starts. 

The new president for the East Jefferson club is Paul Rogers. You may or may not know Paul as a key member of “Those Darn Accordions,” an American accordion band known as TDA. The word is they may be headlining an accordion festival in September right here in East Jefferson County. 

What else can you hope for? Maybe a weekly accordion concert at the club meeting!

Love a curmudgeon and have a great week. 

(Ned Luce is a retired IBM executive and Port Ludlow resident, and if he runs up a flagpole, we’ll salute him. Contact Ned at ned@ptleader.com.)