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Independence Day 2020… the first Fourth of July in my lifetime without parades and fireworks and the usual community mingling. So imagine my delight when I learned of Lakeview of Kirkland’s drive-thru parade for their residents and seven veterans!

Lakeview is a senior living facility south of downtown Kirkland, Washington. Among their seven veterans are two World War II veterans– and I love those guys and gals. They have a twinkle to them and loads of character. So I put the word out and raced to Kirkland.

Upon arrival, I found employees directing traffic, flags everywhere, and a carefully socially distanced parking lot where Lakeview residents could sit far enough from the vehicles coming through but close enough to see them. I was thrilled to learn that one of their seven veterans is a female veteran.

After driving through and thoroughly enjoying the patriotic cheer from a generation that loves our country, I went up the road to rally the troops via cell phone so more people would atttend. As one car passed me, they dropped a flag in the middle of the roadway and didn’t stop. “Ironic!” I thought, because I couldn’t find my medium-sized flag earlier. So I pulled over and picked up that flag.

I’d seen Tim Hickey, a well-known Kirkland do-gooder, driving around earlier, and was standing near the entrance when he pulled in waving his flags. It was great to see a few other vehicles out on the road waving large flags today too. Seeing his campaign signs truly made it feel like the Fourth of July because it’s so very American to see candidates out and about on this day.

Unfortunately, some residents had already gone inside when I took these photos, but you can still get a general sense of the festive atmosphere.

I am not entirely sure what I captured in the above photo but it’s funny. Maybe the dog was singing the National Anthem.

These flag waving ladies were eager to see who (or what) else pulled into the parking lot. Right about this time a ridiculously cool vintage Porsche pulled in.

I had to zoom in because I was nowhere near the building, so was glad to get this shot of these America-loving, festive locals.

The decorations, distancing, and everything was spot on. One item that came up in conversation was the lack of participation from the larger community in traditional American holidays. That is exactly why we need community celebrations and parades– so our neighbors who aren’t American or are new to America can experience the joy of people of all political beliefs and faiths coming together to celebrate what we have in common.

The staff was friendly and attentive to residents.

Again, I didn’t want to get too close so was zooming in and snapping random photos.

They even decorated the sidewalk!

Yes, heroes do work at Lakeview. They worked hard to ensure that residents, especially veterans, still had a fun Fourth of July. Good job all!

After this I decided to hang the flag out the window as I traveled through several cities. A few people honked, just a small fraction of those I passed. If you watch people’s faces when they drive, a majority don’t seem to have good situational awareness. They’re either looking ahead, not turning their head right or left, and seem fairly oblivious to anything going on outside their vehicle. If they’re stopped, they’re often looking down. So I doubt many of them even noticed.

On that note, I decided that if we can’t have fairs and parades and fireworks, I was going to stir up some good old fashioned patriotic sentiment anyway. For over half an hour I stood at one of the area’s busiest intersections and waved the flag at cars going by. Here’s what I found:

  1. Some never looked anywhere but straight ahead or down, either oblivious or not wanting to make eye contact
  2. Some seemed embarrassed or sheepish, like young girls
  3. Many waved and honked, mostly couples, families, or those over 30
  4. Only one truck full of gross younger men yelled something obscene
  5. Pedestrians and bicyclists almost always said, “Happy 4th!” and waved
  6. Young employees in a nearby business came out in a group and cheered and waved
  7. A majority of passers by did not respond, but I was pleased by how many did

Earlier I’d seen an older man waving a small flag near a business I needed to stop at. I was going to tell him how much I appreciated that. As I got closer, I realized he was yelling, “Spare change? Spare change?” It brought me back to the original premise of today, that there are many seniors struggling right now. Even those who have a nice place to live may be severely lacking in opportunities to be joyful and connect with other human beings. So I’m greatly pleased that Lakeview hosted this well-orchestrated event that protected their residents while allowing them to party with their neighbors.

Happy 4th all! Feel free to go stand on a street corner and wave a flag yourself!


©2020 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

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Today is Syttende Mai, Norwegian Constitution Day. This is usually a big deal in Ballard, now considered a Seattle neighborhood that used to be (and still should be) its own entity. But thanks to the restrictions on free association and public gatherings, Syttende Mai is a silent affair this time around.

There’s no parade, no packed museum, none of the usual parties in the parking lots, yards, and bars around Ballard. After 130 years of proudly celebrating Norwegian heritage, this happy annual event is on hold. It was that long ago that my Norwegians came to the area. My great-grandmother, born soon after her parents arrived in this country, spoke Norwegian and I love honoring her family at Syttende Mai each year.

Per the National Nordic Museum, our local 17th of May Committee has still pulled off a virtual Syttende Mai. It starts within the hour… I hope that the museum and the committee are okay with me posting this information. I don’t see it on their websites; it came in email form. I’m assuming we still want as many people to participate as possible so am taking the chance of posting this part of the museum’s email online. If there are any objections please let me know.


From the museum:

Seattle’s 17th of May Committee has worked hard to bring several virtual ways to celebrate to our community! You can join them online for speeches, a concert, and a singalong on May 17th.
12pm—Speeches and Virtual Skål
With 17th of May Committee chair-person Anne-Lise Berger; Honorary Consul Viggo Forde; virtual grand marshal General Consul Jo Sletbak; His Majesty King Harald; Honorary Consul Viggo Ford, and more.
Link to join

1pm—Hardanger Concert
With The Norwegian American
Link to join

4pm—Syttende Mai Singalong
With Leif Erikson Lodge
Link to join 
(There is a meeting ID needed… I’m hesitant to publish this given the Zoom bombing going on. You might want to contact the lodge for log-in info.)

Share your at-home celebrations with Leif Erikson Lodge on Facebook!

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