Memorial Day services in Kenai and Soldotna offered local families the opportunity to gather in remembrance of those who stood up to defend our liberties and were stricken down in their service to America. It started in Kenai at 10:00am with the traditional Parade of Flags at the Kenai Cemetery and 21 gun salute, then at noon a Memorial Day commemoration service was held with VFW Post # 100046, AMVETS and American Legion posting the Colors and providing the 21 gun salute, followed by a 2:00pm service at Soldotna Memorial Park where Mayor Nels Anderson and Sen. Peter Micciche paid tribute to all soldiers fallen in defense of our liberties. “It means a lot to our local vets to see our community turn out to remember those who paid the ultimate price for freedom. They are no longer among us, but the vets who you may not recognize in their daily work clothes appreciate the day that calls us all into remembrance and appreciation that freedom isn’t free,” said senior vice commander of VFW Post # 100046 Anne Toutant.
For over 40 years an emotional part of every Memorial Day service has been Korean War veteran and former VFW Chaplin Herb Stettler’s recitation of the poem by John McCrae that has become synonymous with Memorial Day, “In Flanders Fields,” written following WWI. It was appropriate this Memorial Day as veterans gathered at VFW Post # 100046 in Soldotna that post commander Mike Meridith took the occasion to present Stettler with a very special Loyalty Day award for outstanding participation to the Veterans of Foreign Wars from National Commander in Chief Veterans of Foreign Wars John Stroud. “I’ve never known anyone more deserving of this recognition than Herb. He is known throughout the whole Peninsula for his service to vets and he has taught me more about our American flag than I ever knew there was to know,” commented Meridith. “This is an outstanding I can’t imagine anything being any better than this recognition especially coming on Memorial Day when we remember those who paid with their lives for our freedoms,” said Stettler.