Firefighters give Pearl Harbor widow a helping hand raising American flag

Matt Saintsing
June 28, 2018 - 4:19 pm

Photo Courtesy of Lt. James Nichols


It was a beautiful Tuesday morning when Lt. James Nichols responded to a call to assist a widow of a Pearl Harbor survivor install an American flag on her property.

97-year-old Ellen Peoples of Portland, Me., told Nichols she wanted to raise a the flag on the pole in her front yard before the 4th of July, but was unable to herself, since the halyard, or rope, was damaged.

“She was ecstatic,” says Nichols. “She wanted to celebrate Independence Day with the flag on her pole.”

Photo Courtesy of Lt. James Nichols

The flag was given to Peoples by a local veterans group as a way to say thanks for her donations over the years.

While firefighters Ronald Giroux and Jessie Peters positioned their firetruck and removed the halyard from the top of the pole, Nichols and Peoples watched in joy. 

It was when the firefighting trio walked through her house that they realized her late husband, Arnold, was a Marine Corps veteran and a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attacks. Everyone knew him as "Jack."

It was fitting that Nichols offered a helping hand as he’s a veteran himself who served in the Gulf War with 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines in a heavy machine gun platoon.

“It was a great experience,” he says. “I can’t say enough about these firefighters, or Mrs. Peoples. These are great Americans. I’m proud to know each of them.”

Photo Courtesy of Lt. James Nichols