Kenai Peninsula’s Order of the Purple Heart, Chapter 830 held an official dedication ceremony May 30th for the Purple Heart monument located at Soldotna Creek Park. “It was a great day and we appreciate everyone who turned out for our brief ceremony. I felt that all our members, those who have received the medal were here with us in spirit because it means a lot to all of us,” said Nick Nelson, Region III commander of the Military Order of the Purple Heart. Nelson and Chaplin for the Order of the Purple Heart Joe Sawyer officiated at the dedication with VFW Post # 10046 posting the colors. According to Nelson General George Washington originated the first recognition for those who shed their blood in the creation of a new country following the Revolutionary War of 1776. “At that time it was called a badge of merit for wounded personnel that served and shed blood during the revolution, before we had a national military so to speak and those who volunteered to fight were called Minutemen. But for those who received and wore that badge they would receive free room and board wherever they traveled in appreciation of their service, it was the first ribbon of recognition given to an enlisted man and is the oldest medal of our nation today,” explained Nelson.
The monument at Soldotna Creek Park was by the residents of the Kenai Peninsula Borough and the Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 830. “Our slogan is All gave some, some gave all,” said Nelson. “Some of the organizations that supported the idea were overwhelmed by the idea of getting the monument down here, but we raised the money ourselves; we didn’t ask any government officials for any money or anything, we just called some friends and by word of mouth raised a little over $8,000.00 to have [the memorial] made and shipped here from Vermont. Weaver Bros. brought it down here from Anchorage free of charge. There are a lot of Patriots in Alaska and they stepped up.
It’s not just a Purple Heart Monument; it belongs to everybody here in the community as a tribute and honor to all veterans and for future generations to remember with appreciation those who served every time they come to the park. It’s a beautiful monument,” said Nelson. Etched in stone upon the memorial are the words, “My stone is red for the blood I shed. The metal I bear is my Country’s way to show they care. If I could be seen by all mankind, maybe peace will come in my lifetime.”