A local veteran is hoping to renew a sense of patriotism in Santa Monica with an initiative to install flags on residential homes.
George Bukhin was born in Crimea and he said his family came to America as refugees. He was raised in Santa Monica with a strong sense of patriotism that he credits to his father.
“I kept hearing from my dad how lucky I was to be in America,” he said. “I became really patriotic thanks to my dad.”
After moving through the local school system, including Lincoln, Samohi and SMC, Bukhin enlisted in the Marines where he was deployed overseas in a non-combat role. He returned to Santa Monica where he works as a project manager and entrepreneur but he remains a reserve with the Marines.
“I still am very patriotic — it’s always been a cause that’s very important to me,” he said. “I’ve traveled all over the world and U.S. and I’ve been to other parts that are a little more patriotic than Santa Monica is.”
In keeping with his dedication to America, Bukhin recently received permission from his apartment to install an American flag on his Santa Monica building. During the installation, Bukhin said he was surprised by the negative reaction he received.
“I got a lot of push-back from a neighbor, saying it was divisive, saying she didn’t feel safe and she didn’t like it,” he said. “I respectfully disagreed and proceeded to put the flag up.”
About a week later, while walking his dog Bukhin said he noticed the flag had been removed, ripped from its brackets leaving a hole in the brick.
“After that happened I was so aggravated by the notion the flag was divisive and would spark anger I thought the best way respond was to put the flag up in Santa Monica.”
Bukhin said he hired a local veteran through OPCC to distribute fliers in the North of Montana neighborhood advertising his new service. He is targeting single-family homes due to the ease of installation.
“For $75, I will come to you and install a beautiful 3’x5′ sewn American flag on a brushed aluminum 6′ poll anywhere you want at your home or building,” says the flier. “Every part, including the flag, is made in the U.S.A and of the highest quality.”
Bukhin said the fee covers the cost of materials and will help pay local veterans to help with the project. The service isn’t a money-making business for Bukhin who said he is organizing the project during his lunch hour and spare time.
He said Memorial Day is a perfect opportunity to begin the project and that he hoped increasing the number of American flags in the community would create an environment where commitment to the country was the norm, not the exception.
“It’s a great way to spread our patriotism, it’s a great way to give back to veterans,” he said of the project. “We’re coming up to a pivotal point in which we need to unite as Americans. This is my way of doing it. Let’s make this happen.”
To schedule an installation, or for more information, email GeoBukhin@Yahoo.com.