Honoring their sacrifice: Remebering those who serve

Posted: Wednesday, June 06, 2007


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  Dave Casewell, of the Kenai Vet Center lays a wreath of remembrance during Memorial Day observances in Kenai.

VFW Poppy girl, 4-year-old Madeline Edelen, sells Memorial Day Poppies to help disabled veterans.

One of the largest gatherings ever to attend Memorial Day observances in Kenai last week honored America’s fallen and expressed appreciation to those still in military service to America. Guest speaker Sgt. 1st Class Will Schwenke commented, “In preparing to speak to a gathering like this I was reminded of how fortunate and unworthy we really are to be here when so many others had died on the battlefield fighting for our freedom and I had that in mind as I came here to honor those who could not be here today for this event.


We may not have the most perfect form of government yet, but democracy and liberty for all is a good cause to die for.” Sgt. Schwenke returned last year from Iraq after being deployed with the Alaska National Guard.


Jessica Lasky wipes a tear as she is presented with a hand made quilt in honor of her fallen husband, Cpl. Mike Lasky

Opening ceremonies were led by American Legion Post 20 commander Yvonne Wellnitz and the National Anthem was sung by Legionnaire Robert Booth. Dave Caswell, Kenai Vet Center director read the poem “Face the Flag,” and students of the Lighthouse Christian School presented Jessica Lasky with a handmade quilt in honor of her husband Cpl. Mike Lasky, who died while serving in Iraq last year.


Dave Casewell, of the Kenai Vet Center lays a wreath of remembrance during Memorial Day observances in Kenai.

After the laying of memorial wreaths by American Legion Post No. 20, VFW Post No. 1046, AmVets Post No. 4 and Disabled American Veterans Chapter 5, members of the public were invited to place poppies on the wreaths in remembrance of a loved one who had served America. “It was very moving and reminded me of the first time I visited the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C.,” commented a visitor from Colorado.


The Wreath of Remembrance adorned by community members who have lost a loved one who served America.

In honor of Memorial Day U.S. Senator Ted Stevens issued the following statement from Washington D.C.: “For more than 230 years, our armed services have fought to protect our nation, preserve our way of life, and spread freedom throughout the world. Thousands have fallen in pursuit of peace. On Memorial Day, we pay tribute to all who have served, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.


Young Marines help VFW post colors at Memorial Day observances in Kenai, American Legion members offer a 21 gun salute in honor of America's fallen warriors at Memorial Day observances in Kenai.

In commemoration of the Civil War’s terrible toll, Memorial Day was first observed in 1868. As a veteran of World War II, on this special day I am reminded of my comrades who served with me. Many lost their lives during that dark period in our history, and few are still alive. As our nation faces new threats, a new generation, all volunteers, ensures our continued safety. Let us all add even greater meaning to this day by remembering them wherever they are. The willingness of our military to volunteer to give everything to pay any price to defend this nation at home and abroad has been constant in our history. On Memorial Day, Americans come together in remembrance of these brave men and women. We celebrate their service, we cherish their memory, and, as General George Patton once reminded us, we thank God they ever lived.”

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