Strengthening 'our community and our nation'

By Daishan Roach Contributing writer Spirits were high as a little over 150 people, old and young alike and including veterans and several members of South Pierce Fire and Rescue, gathered for the sixth National Day of Service in Eatonville on Sept. 12. The morning was bright without any clouds for coverage as the sun climbed up into the sky. After a prayer from pastor Dan Hoffman of Eatonville Baptist Church was offered, the nation's flag was posted by Boy Scous Troop 599 with help from George Gendron, a firefighter with South Pierce Fire since 1969. David Bacher, a local high school senior, played "Star Spangled BannerGÇ¥ on his trumpet without flaw, and a moment of silence was observed for the nation's heroes. Ronald Scott, a retired Army officer, shared some remarks recounting the events of 9-11. "There is already a young generation of our youth who have no recollection of those events,GÇ¥ said Scott. The purpose of the local observance was to draw communities together "to remember and honor those who gave their lives as a result of a cowardly, senseless and brutal act of violence perpetrated on innocent citizens of our nation,GÇ¥ he said. The day was also to pay tribute to those who serve in the military, police forces, fire departments and emergency personnel who all so often "give what President Lincoln called 'the last full measure of devotion,'GÇ¥ said Scott. Before the group of community members dispersed into work crews, Eatonville School District superintendent Krestin Behr encouraged everyone to sign up for a crew and to not forget the reason behind it. There were many opportunities to serve. Baseball dugouts, hand rails at the high school football grandstand, and school trash cans were cleaned up and received a fresh coat of paint. Many hands helped clean up and spread new bark at the Community Garden. Tall grass and other vegetation got trimmed back at the entrance of the Hamner Springs Development. New bark was spread at Eatonville Community Center, while another group tore down an old outbuilding. Elementary, middle school and high school grounds were cleaned up and weeded, as well as Millpond Park and the Bud Blancher trail. Humanitarian educational kits were assembled. And the curbs got a fresh coat of paint throughout town. The Methodist Church hosted everyone for a spaghetti lunch to thank them for their efforts. Church volunteers had to get creative with the food preparation, as the town was without electricity that morning due to a scheduled shutdown of the municipal electrical system for maintenance. So they brought in camp stoves and were able to use those to cook up the noodles and sauce to feed everyone. The food was delicious, the company enjoyable, and the drinking water nice and cold for the hot September day. "It would be easy," Scott said, "for us to forget the events of" Sept. 11, 2001, "to pursue our lives without giving further thought to what transpired. As we gather here today to render service, we have the opportunity to strengthen the fabric of our community and our nation as we honor our brothers and sisters who sacrificed all.GÇ¥ Next year's day of remembrance and service in Eatonville is scheduled for Sept. 10.


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