Huge turnout at Veteran's Wall of Honor ceremony

Published: May. 25, 2020 at 7:23 PM AKDT
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There could have been better conditions for a Memorial Day ceremony at the Veteran's Wall of Honor than a rainy day during a pandemic, but that didn't stop the largest crowd anyone in attendance has seen in months from forming.

At its new location outside the Wasilla Police Department, veterans, family, and supporters came together to remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice on Monday.

Those who came out in support were joined by representatives from the White House, the Alaska Delegation, Rep. Don Young and Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Dunleavy said that the attitude people have on Memorial Day should be reflected every day. He said he was glad to take a short break from his duties in responding to the coronavirus to be at the Wall of Honor.

"We're working every day, but this is a day that you have to set aside and remember," Dunleavy said.

Most everyone who went to the ceremony was standing. One reason was that the seats were wet, but the other is that so many people came.

Even in the times we're in, people like Air Force veteran Scott Montagne said he wasn't surprised by the turnout in the valley.

"As a veteran, it's very humbling to see people come support who we are and what we've done for this nation," Montagne said. "I knew people would show up. It's just what we do, it's just what happens."

It was a humbling experience on what Vietnam Helicopter Pilot, Dave Buirge considered to be sacred ground.

As he reflected on the names on the wall, he expressed the significance of his community being there today.

"We know what it's like to lose friends, bothers for life," he said, "It makes you feel important as a veteran. That they really care. In the valley, they do."

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