Two American bald eagles flew past the window outside the Riverside House restaurant Tuesday.
It was a fitting scene, as inside the restaurant, Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey presented a citation to a Sterling sailor home on leave from Iraq.
Speaking before the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, Carey presented a binder filled with letters written to people in military service and the citation to U.S. Navy Fireman Jeremy Shedd.
"Jeremy said he and fellow soldiers received letters from our Red, White and Blue Campaign and I want you to take these letters back when you return to the USS George Washington in January," Carey said.
"Jeremy represents the best of Americans and how good they can become.
"I extend the pride of Soldotna to you for your service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. I commend you for your bravery and your courage," Carey said.
Shedd had been aboard the destroyer USS Deyo at the beginning of the bombardment of Baghdad, and the ship returned to the United States for decommissioning this month.
He will return to Iraq in a new assignment aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Washington in January.
Before enlisting in the Navy in 2002, Shedd attended Skyview High School for two years and graduated from the Alaska Military Youth Corps in 2001. Carey is a government teacher at Skyview.
In a show of support for American troops fighting in the Mideast, Carey started the Red, White and Blue letter-writing campaign asking school children and other citizens to write letters to people serving in the military.
Shedd said he would be sure fellow sailors received the new book full of letters given to him by Carey. In exchange for the gift, Shedd gave Carey a T-shirt commemorating the USS Deyo.
At the end of the brief ceremony, the roomful of Soldotna business people gave Shedd a standing ovation.
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