Alaska

Alaska’s military members honored publicly and privately on Veterans Day at JBER

Through Marc Lester

Updated: 11 Some minutes ago Released: 11 Some minutes ago

Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard

The Alaska National Guard honored service members Friday at its Veterans Day ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The event, which drew about 150 people to the armory, included the Alaska Military Youth Academy, commentary from Gov. Mike Dunleavy and a fallen warrior ceremony.

In his keynote speech, Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe, Adjutant General of the Alaska National Guard, recognized and shared the stories of 11 veterans with ties to Alaska, including members of the Alaska Territorial Guard, Coast Guard, Women’s Auxiliary Corp and others. Saxe said researching these men and women deepened his appreciation. He hoped to convey that Alaskans “stand on the shoulders of giants,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure people understood it was about the people,” he said. “What they did, allow me, allow you, allow us to do what we are doing today.”

Saxe said he was encouraged by the atmosphere at the event, their first in-person Veterans Day ceremony at the Armory since 2019. “People are talking. They share,” he said. “That’s what we have to do.”

Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard
Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard
Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard
Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard
Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard
Veterans Day, Alaska National Guard

Later in the day, Eagle River’s Michael Mott visited the memorial to his wife Juanita Mott at Fort Richardson National Cemetery. The Motts, who were married for 33 years, met at Hahn Air Base, a US Air Force facility in Germany. “We loved being in worship together,” he said.

Mott said he has been visiting the cemetery several times a week since Juanita died in December 2019. He comes in any weather, he said, including recently when it was minus 6 degrees. “I felt absolutely fine,” he said.

Mott said he thinks about their closeness when he visits. The two never argued for as long as they were together and would often end the day laughing, he said. “It’s peaceful,” Mott said of the graveyard. “I get the opportunity to be close to her.”

Veterans Day, Fort Richardson National Cemetery

[Watch: Airline agent sings national anthem at Anchorage airport on Veterans Day]

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