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Veterans honored across the city

VFW Post No. 239 commander Fred Green raises the American flag while Bremerton School District Superintendent Bette Hyde looks on at the Pathway to Freedom dedication ceremony on Nov. 3. - Phtoto by Charles Melton
VFW Post No. 239 commander Fred Green raises the American flag while Bremerton School District Superintendent Bette Hyde looks on at the Pathway to Freedom dedication ceremony on Nov. 3.
— image credit: Phtoto by Charles Melton

Voices from the past were carried by the winds Saturday afternoon as local, state and national leaders joined veterans in dedicating the Path of Freedom at Bremerton High School’s Memorial Stadium.

The names of the 437 Kitsap County servicemen and women who gave their lives for freedom from World War II to the present are engraved on granite slabs in the flag plaza.

Among the dignitaries gathered at the event were Congressman Norm Dicks, Kitsap County Commissioner Josh Brown and BSD Superintendent Bette Hyde.

Washington state Department of Veterans Affairs deputy director Lourdes Alvarado-Ramos was one of the speakers at Saturday’s event.

While there is a veterans memorial in Olympia, Bremerton’s memorial is a sign of the community’s commitment to its veterans, Alvarado-Ramos said.

“That speaks volumes for your dedication,” Alvarado-Ramos said.

Among the many veterans in attendance was Don Green, president of the Washington state Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

“This is a wonderful place, and it honors those who have gone on before,” Green said.

The memorial rivals the great revitalization effort that is occurring in the city and adds to it, Green said.

Although Bremerton Mayor Cary Bozeman was unable to attend Saturday’s ceremonies, Bremerton City Council President Will Maupin told the crowd he was honored to stand in the mayor’s place.

“This is a genuine community effort, and it’s the kind of effort that really makes a city a community,” Maupin said.

City leaders are working to bring back the glory years that the city enjoyed during World War II and one of the most important contributors has been the Bremerton School District, he said.

“From now on I will have a different way of thinking when I think of Memorial Stadium,” Maupin said.

Although Bremerton’s only Medal of Honor recipient John “Bud” Hawk was unable to speak at the event, a letter from him to those gathered at the stadium was read by VFW Post No. 239 Commander Fred Green.

“Courage is not the lack of fear,” Hawk wrote. “Courage is how you react to that fear and how you accept your purpose.”

He was a citizen-draftee who served with the 3rd Infantry Division during World War II, and few people can imagine the difficulties of fighting in a modern war, Hawk wrote.

“Hang in there, soldier,” Hawk concluded.

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