In January, I spoke with a member of the Alaska Joint Armed Services Committee. He was really excited about the Memorial Day commemoration being planned; The Decoration of Honor Ceremony. Alaska is only the second state to have such a service, and I was honored to be invited.
From the Program: The Alaska Decoration of Honor was created to recognize the Alaskan service members who have been killed in action or in support of combat. The medal is awarded on behalf of the people of the State of Alaska to show our gratitude to the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in serving our state and nation.
The USAF Band of the Pacific played. The US Military Color Guard presented flags from all branches of service. The Discovery Theater was packed with families of the last 50 years of Alaska’s fallen soldiers. Their loss was palpable. Their pride was present. Their tears were flowing. The Generals were solemn.
Regardless of the branch of military service or what war claimed their lives, the Alaska servicemen and women were honored. Their families were presented with the Alaska Decoration of Honor Medal.
Jon van Zyle, a Vietnam Veteran, local and nationally renowned artist, donated his time and talents in designing the Alaska Decoration of Honor medal. It was stunning.
“It is an honor to be a part of this ceremony,” Senator Bill Wielechowski, co-chair on the committee said. “All Alaskans should be proud of the sacrifices that have been made by these men and women in service to our nation.”
It was a beautiful ceremony, appreciated by the families-touched to even be remembered after so many years, even decades for some. Many had traveled from all over the country to be recognized.
Despite several months of notice, the governor didn’t commit to be at the ceremony until the morning of the event-hence her conspicuous absence in the program. Before the program went to the printers, the governor had been given a deadline. Silence. Perhaps she was waiting for Greta’s call. Governor Palin insisted she be sat on stage and demanded time for a speech. She spoke before the invocation and flag presentation as to not be “off program.” It was certainly appropriate for the governor to speak at such a high level ceremony, but her high level maintenance made it difficult for those that planned it.
I talked to a Republican lawmaker earlier today and told her how honored I felt to be there. She commented on the governor’s attire. The most somber occasion I have attended, and the governor wore a mini skirt. Neat. Way to comfort the families of fallen soldiers; give them tickets to the “bare legs show.” One side of the auditorium was waiting for “Basic Instinct” shot, Alaska style.
Even Sarah Palin, in full diva regalia, couldn’t ruin the day. She just looked cheap.
Senator Wielechowski and Representative Dahlstrom should be proud.