Theodore's World: The Story Behind Who Waves The Flags Over I-5

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May 16, 2010

The Story Behind Who Waves The Flags Over I-5

The story behind who waves the flags over I-5

Passionate military spouse making a difference


If you ask anyone who knows her, Elisa Sukenick is a woman on a mission. Within minutes of a first introduction, you know that patriotism is something she takes very seriously. You also know that she stands behind every word she says - literally.

In 2003, on the day the troops first arrived in Iraq, Sukenick remembers hearing the news on the radio and being so overwhelmed that she needed to pull her car over. At the time she happened to be on the Center Drive Bridge in DuPont, or exit 118 on Interstate 5. As she sat in her car and prayed, she made a solemn promise to support the soldiers every way she could and to remind others to do the same.

On every major holiday (and sometimes just a sunny day), Sukenick heads to that same bridge, which she calls a living memorial for those serving in the military, and waves a flag at the cars passing below. More often than not, drivers honk, flash headlights, and wave back at her in order to show their mutual support of the troops. She often recruits people from her church and office to join her or the spouses of deployed soldiers, but in recent years, as the war has continued, participation has waned. However, for seven years Sukenick has personally upheld her promise to raise awareness and rarely misses a chance to stand on that bridge.

"I do this to support the men and women of the military - not for any political meaning. I never want this to be about politics," Sukenick said. "This is about loving this country and loving the soldiers." A few times, including once last month, soldiers have pulled off the exit to say thank you to her face. Many have a hard time expressing the gratitude they feel; some have just gotten out of their cars to shake her hand or give her a hug.

Sukenick's ties to the military started more than 40 years ago when she served as a nurse during the Vietnam War at Fort Gordon, Ga. Her husband, retired Staff Sgt. Jeff Sukenick, served 23 years in the Army. For more than two decades she was a civilian nurse at Madigan Army Medical Center, and now Sukenick works in the Lakewood office of the Allergy and Asthma Specialty Service, which happens to be run by three retired Army doctors. Needless to say, her employers encourage and appreciate Sukenick's extracurricular activity and often work with her to send care packages overseas and make donations to groups such as Operation Make a Soldier Smile.

"Whenever something positive is going on outside of the base, I can't help but wonder if Elisa has done it," said retired Col. W. Pierre Andrade, M.D. "This is just who she is. She has a big heart and is tireless about helping those in need, like the soldiers."

After each flag waving session, Sukenick gathers her volunteers together to pray. She thanks the Lord for sending her helpers and for keeping the soldiers safe. She asks that everyone come back again, and maybe they will, maybe they won't. Either way, she'll be there, rain or shine, waving her flag and reminding the drivers about the importance of supporting our troops.


Wild Thing's comment......

There truly are so many wonderful America loving people in our country. People that KNOW why we are able to live in the land of the free and who paid the price for all of us. God bless this woman!!!

....Thank you Jack for sending this to me.

United States Army
Army Combat Engineers
Quang Tri & Chu Lai '68 -'69

Jack's blog is Conservative Insurgent

Posted by Wild Thing at May 16, 2010 05:47 AM


Thank you Chrissie :)

Posted by: Jack at May 16, 2010 09:59 PM