Festival Fairbanks hosts Veterans Day event at Westmark Hotel

It's Veteran's Day - a holiday honoring those who have served in the US Military.
Published: Nov. 11, 2022 at 6:54 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Friday, November 11 is Veteran’s Day in the United States, a holiday honoring those who have served in the U.S. military.

Known as Armistice Day until 1954, the day marks the armistice and ceasefire between allied forces and Germany in 1918, ending World War I.

Alaska has the highest number of veterans per capita of any state in the U.S. and this fact was on full display at the Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center, where the community gathered to pay their respects to those who’ve served.

Veterans, family, supporters and more gathered the venue to give thanks to those who have served in the military.

The ceremony, hosted by Festival Fairbanks, saw performances by Great Land Sounds and the 11th Airborne Division Band.

Lathrop High School’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Drill Team led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.

They then performed a demonstration of their drilling skills.

An empty table served to remind attendees that members of the U.S. military are missing in action. Master Sergeant Lawrence Salzman explained, “The empty places represent our men and women still missing from each of the five services, the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and civilians.”

Representatives from Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base gave their thanks to the community for its tireless support of veterans.

Col. David J. Berkland, Commander of the 354th Fighter Wing at Eielson Air Force Base, said, “We honor all American war fighters, past and present, who made a commitment to support and defend our constitution, our nations values and interests around the world.”

Col. Nate Surrey, Commander at Fort Wainwright for U.S. Army Alaska, said, “Today, there are over 23 million living veterans in our country, 16 million of which served in times of war. Veterans currently represent seven percent of our society.”

Addresses from Governor Mike Dunleavy, Senator Dan Sullivan and the Mayors of Fairbanks, North Pole, and the borough were then read to the assembly.

Veterans from each branch of the military were asked to stand and be recognized for their sacrifice.

Then with the retiring of the colors, the ceremony came to a close.