Community turns out for Homecoming II at National Guard Armory.
It was a happy homecoming weekend for National Guardsmen serving from the Kenai Peninsula, it was an emotional weekend as families in service to America reunited with our returning warriors at the National Guard Armory in Kenai, and it was a privileged weekend as all Veterans joined with federal, state, and local dignitaries to express appreciation for those willing to defend the United States of America. “I am so proud of the people of the Kenai Peninsula and the way the welcomed home their warriors, it made you feel good all over. You have much to be proud of this weekend and there is no where else I’d rather be than here standing with you celebrating a job well done, and equally important was the celebration of the families and community that supported them. The people here that embraced those families, whether sending care packages, or helping keep the snow clear from their driveways and other tangible support while the soldiers were away. It’s so important as well to say thank you to those families who support our service men and women so that they can do the job that our country has asked them to do,” said U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Daddy's home! Sgt. Eric Einerson and son at Homecoming II, Vets Day.
“Humbling!” was the word people who attended Homecoming II used to describe how they felt after Maj. Martin Hanson said it was hard to be the ones who were receiving so much from the community, “We are proud to have the opportunity to bear arms for our country and we couldn’t do it without the support of the heroes here at home that support our families while we are away. Thank you! And I mean that in the deepest sense of the term,” said Hanson.
Highlighting the homecoming celebration were patriotic sounds of the Passing Brass Quintet, the singing of the National Anthem by Christine Grimsley, and a special POW/MIA Ceremony by the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion. Brigadier General Thomas Katkus, commander of the Alaskan National Guard praised his returning soldiers and the community that supported them.
Homecoming II was followed Sunday, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month with the commemoration of Veteran’s Day, sponsored by the American Legion post #20, VFW Post #10046, and AMVETS Post #4. Hundreds filled the Soldotna Sports center to honor all those who have ever taken arms to defend the U.S.A. “Each and every one of us is so very proud of the way each and every of you has served. And to each of you from all of us, thank you for your service,” said Borough Mayor John Williams. Soldotna Mayor David Carey urged the community to continue to support the growing ranks of veterans by insisting that veteran services be adequately funded. Dave Caswell narrated a flag folding ceremony performed by local Vets and then laid at the mock grave where public and local veteran’s organizations laid wreaths in memory of those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. American Legion Post #20 and VFW Post # 10046 performed a rifle salute followed by the notes of Taps floated into space by Tim Wisnewski.
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