The WWII veteran was selected to raise the 12 Flag as part of the Seahawks' 'Salute to Service'
Ninety-six-year-old veteran and Arlington local Arthur “Art” Unruh was chosen to raise the 12 Flag for the Seattle Seahawks for their Nov. 15 game against the Green Bay Packers.
Unruh was one of the veterans who was recognized as part of the Seahawks' annual ‘Salute to Service’ game and was selected for the honor of raising the 12 Flag, a Seattle Seahawks tradition given to one person before each Seattle home game.
“It was awesome. It was quite the honor and I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Unruh.
Unruh was drafted to fight in World War II and was assigned to the 32nd Bomb Squadron of the 301st Bomb Group.
He flew in 50 missions in one of the most dangerous units in the Air Force during that time.
In 2000 Unruh released his journal as the book “The Shadow Casters” which is now in its third printing.
“I’ve been busy over the last 20 years since my book came out talking about my experience in the war, and I’ve accomplished a lot because of it, but never did I think I would get to do something like this,” said Unruh.
Unruh was chosen to raise the flag because of his harrowing tales of the war.
“First of all, what he’s been through during World War II was just amazing,” said Mike Flood, vice president of community outreach with the Seattle Seahawks.
“The fans loved the imagery and the account of Art’s military history,” said Flood, who added that the picture of his shot up plane during his last mission was incredible.
“That plane was barely able to fly and to have that on his 50th mission, his final mission for his service,” said Flood.
The Seahawks fans showed a lot of respect to Unruh, said Flood.
“At the end of the game when he left the suite there were a number of fans lined up and they all cheered for Art as he was leaving,” he said. “Art was so engaging with the fans all throughout the day and night."
Unruh is used to sharing his story as he serves as a docent at Paul Allen’s Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum and has spoken at numerous classrooms.
“I’ve been very fortunate to be able to go out to schools and talk to school kids,” he said.
The November game was the Seahawks’ annual ‘Salute to Service.’
“We always want to make sure that the fans are understanding the history of our military, both current and past,” said Flood.
As part of that, the flag raiser typically gets to come out and meet the Seahawks players during their Tuesday practice before the game.
“The team isn’t going to get the whole picture of the veteran,” because they have the game in front of them, said Flood, which is why they invite the flag raiser to a practice.
“He was a real inspiration to the players and coaches,” said Flood.
Unruh said he enjoyed meeting all the Seahawks.
“I got to shake hands with all the players and talk with Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson,” said Unruh.
“They all thanked me for my service and each and every one of the players took their time to shake my hand,” he said.
Unruh said he was surprised at the size of the players as well.
“I’ll tell you that they’re big boys, too. I’m six foot and I’m used to looking down on most people, but all these guys had me raising my head,” he said.
During the game day Unruh was also surprised at the size of the stadium.
“That is one heck of a big place and we were all over it. It was like a mini-city in there,” he said.
Unruh joined other veterans in one of the stadium’s suites to view the game.
“To get up in the lounge where we watched the game was great,” he said.
Flood said that Unruh was the oldest veteran there and all the current service members enjoyed meeting him.
“They said that the best part of their day, even more than going out on the field, was getting to talk to Art,” he said.