Memorial Day in Alaska: Family experiences to share

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” ~ Maya Angelou

Each spring AKontheGO takes a personal time-out to remember men and women who gave their lives for the United States of America; however, where ever, and whenever we’re able. Memorial Day 2014 takes place on Monday, May 26, and as usual, a number of venues around the state will be offering formal ceremonies to recognize these “heroes and she-roes.”

This weekend would be an excellent opportunity to share with kids the value of Alaska’s fallen veterans with a visit to one or more of the selections, below. Remember them, remember their families, and remember that the ultimate sacrifice they gave was in the name of our country, and us.

Happy weekend.

The Alaska Veterans Museum is a small space with big heart on 4th Avenue in Anchorage.

The Alaska Veterans Museum, located on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage, should be a primary mission for any family seeking to understand the value of soldiers, sailors, and scouts to Alaska’s military effort. Run by Col. SueEllyn Novak, Ret., this museum is full of guts, glory, and incredible heart, and every single person who visits Anchorage should stop here. Meet Col. Novak and her cadre of volunteers, ask questions, read up on military history, and allow yourselves this precious opportunity. Open for summer hours beginning Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tell her I sent you. Admission is around $5, and please, if you can, donate to help this museum stay operational for years to come.

The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum is three hangars full of aircraft and history.

The Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and a stop along the shores of Lake Hood is a great way to become acquainted with the state’s military connection to aircraft. From flight simulators to WWII planes, this museum shows off the spirit of Alaska flight. Admission is $10/adults, $8/students 13 and older, $6/kids 5-12. Open Memorial Day.

Pioneer Park in Fairbanks. Airplanes, trains, playgrounds, and cute little houses. Yep.

Pioneer Park in Fairbanks is hosting a Memorial Day celebration Monday, May 26. Stop by the Air Museum, listen to a military band, get a flag painted on your face, then stick around for the formal ceremony at 1 p.m. Free. The Tanana Valley RR is operating, the carousel is spinning, and the stores are open. Enjoy this historic little place!

Located on the grounds of Fort Richardson, the cemetery offers stunning views of nearby mountains.

Remembering our fallen heroes at Fort Richardson Cemetery's annual ceremony.

Fort Richardson National Cemetery welcomes everyone to their annual ceremony on Monday, May 26 at noon. Access is via the Fort Richardson Main Gate for those needing passes, and you can begin lining up at 10 a.m. Bring valid ID and valid auto insurance. This is a powerful ceremony, and one not to be missed. Note: Col. Novak always attends, and she knows every single military anthem. I love her.

A mock-up no more, the Anchorage Veterans Memorial is ready for rededication on Monday, May 26. (Image courtesy

The Anchorage Veterans’ Memorial on the Delaney Park Strip is finally ready for rededication, and a ceremony for such will take place Monday, May 26 at 9:30 a.m. This is a cooperative effort that has gone on many years, and I think you’ll be pleased with the honor and care taken to restore and rehabilitate the site. It’s beautiful. Free.

Trying on a gas mask at the Kodiak Military History Museum at Fort Abercrombie.

Enter the bunker, and prepare to be amazed...Kodiak Military History Museum.

The Kodiak Military History Museum is absolutely the most unique military museum I’ve ever visited; mostly because of its location, inside an old bunker on Fort Abercrombie property. Small it may be, but what the all-volunteer force lacks in square footage they make up for in exhibits and atmosphere. Vintage music plays on an old sound system, teletype machines tap out messages, and uniforms of all branches hang from mock closets, ready for a little role-playing. The museum will be open from 1-4 p.m. on Monday, May 26 for all those who feel this is the time to visit. Admission is by donation, and we usually toss in a bit more, because this place is worth it.


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