It was a solemn, proud crowd that stood against the wind and dreary skies at last weeks Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai.
A host of dignitaries joined several hundred families and organizations that turned out to remember and honor all of America's fallen soldiers and to pray for those standing in uniform to preserve freedom in the world today. Guest Speaker U.S. Air Force Sgt. Theo MacNamarra, Public Relations Officer, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Anchorage, recalled the words of U.S. Army General George Marshall during WWII, "When asked if the U.S. had a secret weapon to win the war, Marshall replied, 'We do indeed. We have the best kids in the world.' Today we honor those kids," said MacNamarra. He later quoted former President Ronald Reagan in recognizing how much soldiers who paid the ultimate price for freedom really gave up, "Those who died gave up two lives; the ones they lived and the ones they could have lived." MacNamarra urged everyone to never forget what those fallen men and women had given our country and us.
Following the playing of taps, lay of wreaths, and a 21 gun salute by members of the National Guard, Master of Ceremonies Herb Stettler, Chaplin VFW Post #10046, directed everyone to look toward the western skies, within seconds dots were visible on the horizon which soon were identified as Captain Hurst and members of the 19th Fighter Squadron, 3rd Air Wing from Elmendorf Air Force Base, who thundered across the Kenai skies and performed the Missing Man Formation, which awed and brought tears to many of those assembled. Later Stettler read the poem In Flanders Field, which has become a Memorial Day tradition. A verse from the poem states, "We are the dead, short days ago we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, loved and were loved and now we lie in Flanders Fields." Fallen but never forgotten in a community within a nation, "Of the people by the people."
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