Commander David Segura bows his head during the opening invocation of the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Commander David Segura bows his head during the opening invocation of the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

‘A true expression of selfless service’

Community gathers to honor the fallen in Memorial Day service

Community members gathered Monday at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai for a Memorial Day ceremony, led by veterans and service members.

The Honor Guard began with a processional, placing military flags behind the monument in the park.

Incoming Kenai High School sophomores Owen Smith and Grace Asi sang the national anthem before handing the microphone over to Commander David Segura.

Segura said he wanted to thank everyone who gathered at the park — including Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, State Senate President Peter Micciche, Kenai Mayor Brian Gabriel and city council members — and shared a speech about what this day means to him.

“Memorial Day looks a little different than in past years,” he said during his speech. “Still, we hold on to some semblance of what life was and what we know it will return to. And the memories and emotions this day brings are always the same.”

Chaplain Mike Meredith led invocations, praying for the departed soldiers and prisoners of war.

Community members were then invited to lay poppy flowers on a wreath in honor of loved ones whom they are remembering this Memorial Day.

Segura said that for a lot of American families, the holiday is more than a backyard barbecue commemorating the start of summer.

“For countless families across the nation, Memorial Day is a stark and often painful reminder of those who were never afforded the opportunity to be honored as veterans for their service to their country,” he said at the ceremony. “Their sacrifice is a true expression of selfless service, one that no one would pick for themselves.”

Reach reporter Camille Botello at camille.botello@peninsulaclarion.com.

Honor Guard members proceed into the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Honor Guard members proceed into the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

A service member looks on as Kenai High School students Owen Smith and Grace Asi sing the national anthem during the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

A service member looks on as Kenai High School students Owen Smith and Grace Asi sing the national anthem during the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park in Kenai, Alaska on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) lays a poppy flower on a remberance wreath with his family during the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

Alaska Senate President Peter Micciche (R-Soldotna) lays a poppy flower on a remberance wreath with his family during the Memorial Day ceremony at Leif Hansen Memorial Park on Monday, May 31, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

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