“We are here today to honor all of our fallen heroes,” said Eileen Faulkner, commander of the American Legion Post 16, Homer. “Fallujah and the Philippines, Khe Sanh and Kandahar, Beirut and Grenada. We honor American heroes from the American Revolution through the Global War on Terrorism and every battle in between. The location is unimportant. It is the hearts of these men and women that truly matters. It is the devotion within that led them to sacrifice their lives for the country we all love.”
On Memorial Day, veterans and community members gathered together to honor the servicemen and women who died while fighting for the United States of America. The American Legion Post 16, Homer, American Legion Post 19, Ninilchik, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221, Anchor Point, held services at Hickerson Memorial Cemetery, Anchor Point Cemetery and Ninilichik Cemetery on May 31.
January 2021 saw the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Gulf War. While the war ended shortly a month after, the parents of Army Spec. Cindy Beaudoin were forever changed as their daughter was killed in action. The veterans organizations in Homer, Anchor Point and Ninilichik honored Beaudoin during the Memorial Day ceremony for her dedication and heroism during her service as a National Guard medic.
“On Feb. 28, 1991, just hours after President George H.W. Bush declared a cease fire to end the Gulf War, Spec. Beaudoin was killed in action after her convoy struck a landmine. She was only 19,” Faulkner said. “Like many soldiers, she wrote a letter to be delivered to her parents in the event she would not return. She wrote ‘I did not come here to be a hero. I came here because my country needed me to be here. As much as I hate being so far away from home, I am proud to serve my country. I am here with thousands of other soldiers helping to bring down a very deranged tyrant … If I should die while helping to achieve this, then I did not die in vain.’ She did not die in vain, neither did any other American who we honor on Memorial Day.”
Faulkner reminded the guests that “War is hell,” and the veterans who fought and the service members who died for the United States should be honored and respected.
“That is why we are here today: to recall not just the memories of Cindy Beaudoin …, but to honor the sacrifices made by the 1 million heroes who died while defending this country since the American Revolution,” Faulkner explained.
In honor of the Gold Star families who have lost loved ones to war, Faulkner offered advice for continued support of their sacrifice, as well.
“Most of us will not truly understand the depths of their despair unless we have experienced it,” Faulkner said. “We can always offer support. We can wear the poppy. We can place flags and wreaths at their graves. We can donate to charities that provide for their families. And we can look at their surviving brothers- and sisters-in-arms and say thank you for your service.”
The service ended with the playing of “Taps” and the fallen soldier memorial of a rifle and helmet placed in the ground.
Guests at the ceremony were also invited to visit the VFW for a reception after the service.
To see the full Memorial Day photo gallery, visit facebook.com/homernews.