• Two girls wearing traditional Norwegian dress wave to Cpl. Scott Jakielski, a member of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Everett, Wash., during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade in Seattle, May 17. The annual event recognizes Norwegian Constitution Day, and is the third-largest celebration of its kind in the world.

    Norse girls

    Two girls wearing traditional Norwegian dress wave to Cpl. Scott Jakielski, a member of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Everett, Wash., during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade in Seattle, May 17. The...

  • Master Sgt. Gail Engler, a soldier from the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a U.S. Army Reserve unit in Seattle, carries the flag while marching with the Sons of Norway during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade, May 17. The annual event recognizes Norwegian Constitution Day, and is the third-largest celebration of its kind in the world.

    Engler

    Master Sgt. Gail Engler, a soldier from the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a U.S. Army Reserve unit in Seattle, carries the flag while marching with the Sons of Norway during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade, May 17. The annual...

  • Cpl. Scott Jakielski, a member of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Everett, Wash., waves to the crowd during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade in Seattle, May 17. The annual event recognizes Norwegian Constitution Day, and is the third-largest celebration of its kind in the world."

    Wave

    Cpl. Scott Jakielski, a member of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Everett, Wash., waves to the crowd during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade in Seattle, May 17. The annual event recognizes Norwegian...

  • A Small Emplacement Excavator driven by Sgt. Charles Morris, III, a member of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Everett, Wash., leads a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck driven by Sgt. Eric Angle of the 805th Transportation Detachment, Tacoma, Wash., during the Ballard neighborhood's Syttende Mai parade in Seattle, May 17. The annual event recognizes Norwegian Constitution Day, and is the third-largest celebration of its kind in the world."

    Heavy

    A Small Emplacement Excavator driven by Sgt. Charles Morris, III, a member of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit from Everett, Wash., leads a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck driven by Sgt. Eric Angle of the 805th...

SEATTLE - Men in kilts, marching bands, unicycles, clogs, the Seattle Police Department, fire-breathing dragons, and the U. S. Army Reserve could all be found on the same street May 17 in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day.

Army Reserve soldiers took part in the third-largest 17th of May celebration in the world, also known as "Syttende Mai," the official national day of Norway. The parade celebrates Norwegian Constitution Day, and has been celebrated in Ballard by Seattle's Norwegian community since 1989.

Thousands of people came to celebrate "Syttende Mai," from children in clogs, to a 97-year-old Norwegian-American woman wearing Viking horns. Children marched with Norwegian flags, local marching bands showed their Norwegian pride, and the Army rolled through with its bridging boat to celebrate Ballard's seafaring heritage. A community that grew up around the fishing industry, Ballard is home port for many of the vessels featured in the hit television series, "Deadliest Catch."

Warrant Officer Kevin T. Kelly, Cpl. Scott C. Jakielski and Sgt. Charles J. Morris, III, all members of Detachment 1, 671st Engineer Company in Everett, Wash., as well as Sgt. Eric J. Angle, of the 805th Transportation Detachment, Tacoma, Wash., played key roles in the celebration and showed their pride in the local community by driving military vehicles in the parade.

The soldiers drove an Army-branded Humvee, a Heavy, Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck carrying a combat engineer bridging boat, and a Small Emplacement Excavator, a specially-adapted truck that incorporates a backhoe, bucket loader and other specialized engineer equipment.

"Missions like this are important because they show a different side of the Army to the local community," said Kelly.

Kelly drove the black-and-gold, customized Humvee - complete with flashy mag wheels - along with Jakielski, who stood in the turret and waved at the crowd of thousands of screaming fans, as they drove through the parade representing the Army Reserve.

"Sgt. Angle and Cpl. Jakielski told me they felt like celebrities, and I know what they mean because I did, too," said Kelly. "After the parade, kids were coming up to me for autographs; we all thought it was great.

"We felt like we had the support of the local community; it was awesome," Kelly added. "People were standing and clapping for us, and we're looking forward to doing it next year."


<i>Pvt. Christopher A. Bigelow is a photojournalist assigned to the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Seattle, Wash.</i>

Page last updated Tue June 8th, 2010 at 11:13