Homer celebrates Veterans Day

Homer celebrates Veterans Day

About 100 people, including school children and pioneer Alaskans, celebrated Veterans Day on Friday with a short ceremony at the American Legion Post 16 Veterans Memorial at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Veterans Day activities began with a short ceremony at the Homer Emblem Club Veterans Memorial at the corner of Lake Street and Pioneer Avenue. As people waved flags and thanked veterans walking by, members of the American Legion, the Anchor Point VFW Post and the U.S. Coast Guard marched in a parade down Pioneer Avenue to Main Street and then on the Sterling Highway to the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center.

Attending ceremonies were veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

“It’s great to see people come and show respect for the people who put their lives on the line,” said Vietnam War veteran Jerry Grappi, who served with the U.S. Army from 1970-71 and flew on Huey helicopters.

The ceremony included several short speeches, a rifle salute by VFW members and the playing of “Taps” by Christie Hill.

“In waging war, we have moved forward with a unity of purpose which made us strong, forgetting pettiness, egotism and pride,” said Carolyn Bishop of the American Legion Auxiliary. “Our hearts beat in tune with those in other nations fighting for freedom and the dignity and opportunity of mankind. In our constant quest for an honorable world peace, there is need for unity of purpose if we truly are to move toward a brighter tomorrow.”

Retired Lt. Col. Eileen Faulkner, a Sept. 11 veteran who was at the Pentagon when it was attacked, offered a woman veteran’s perspective.

“The hurts of war fall alike upon those who wear the same uniform, no matter how they may differ in race, creed or culture,” she said. “As we put aside the brown and blue and green fabrics that made us one people on the battlefields, we can hold in our minds that tolerance we have achieved. In tolerance there is progress — progress toward a better and happier world.”

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.