American Legion in Wasilla honors WWII, Korean War veterans

The annual dinner comes on the heels of the 81st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor
The annual dinner comes on the heels of the 81st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor
Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 6:01 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WASILLA, Alaska (KTUU) - For the first time in two years, the American Legion Post 35 held its 16th annual Recognition Dinner for veterans of World War II and the Korean War in person.

Sidelined by the pandemic, the post welcomed about 50 veterans and members of their families to its recreation hall in Wasilla.

The organization’s president, Joan Matthews, called it an honor to serve those who have served the country.

“It’s a recognition of their service,” Matthews said. “American Legion supports veterans. We honor veterans and especially the elderly, the older veterans in the nursing homes.”

Veterans like David Brown — a retired Army veteran who now resides at the Pioneer Home in Palmer — were honored at the event.

“I think it’s wonderful, these people who do that for us,” Brown said. “We had a job to do — we did it, and what have you — and this is just icing on the cake.”

Brown lost his wife four years ago, making the holidays feel a little lonely.

“It’s this time of year, especially, I miss my wife,” Brown admitted. “But God has been good.”

The event was far from just breaking bread with fellow soldiers. It featured the Post 35 Honor Guard, a POW/MIA remembrance ceremony, as well as the Sacred Hearts Children’s Choir performance. Students from Colony High School’s ROTC and Boy Scouts Troop 359 helped serve the full-course meal to the honored guests.

The post holds its annual dinner every year in early December to loosely align with the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which occurred on Dec. 7, 1941. According to the United States Census Bureau, 2,403 U.S. personnel were killed, including 68 civilians. It was a vital moment in the nation’s history as it led the United States to enter WWII.

After dinner concluded, hand-sewn quilted lap blankets were given to each veteran as a token of appreciation. The blankets were made by Ruth Johnson, a Marine Corps veteran and legion member. Johnson said she spent about three months quilting the blankets prior to the event.