Memorial Day in Juneau

Posted: Monday, May 25, 2009

Local veterans' organizations have organized three events recognizing Memorial Day today.

Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

• American Legion Auke Bay Post 25 will hold an observance at 11 a.m. in Alaskan Memorial Park.

• The local Veterans of Foreign Wars post will hold an observance at 11 a.m. in Evergreen Cemetery.

• Southeast Alaska Native Veterans is holding an observance at noon that will begin outside ANB Hall by the Warrior Pole before moving inside.

Staff from Juneau Parks and Recreation will be on hand at the Evergreen Cemetery today from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to help locate grave sites.

Additionally, the Boy Scouts held a breakfast for veterans at the Juneau Moose Lodge on Saturday morning.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday conceived to recognize men and women that have died in military service. Its origins go back to the Civil War.

War's toll on Juneau

About 100 Army National Guard members from Juneau have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan or to military posts tied to conflicts in those countries since Sept. 11, 2001, said McHugh Pierre, a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Of about 20 Alaskans that have died in such deployments, none have been from Juneau, Pierre said.

Juneau's most recent military deaths came during the Vietnam War. Army Cpl. Donald Walter Sperl was killed in Vietnam in 1968 and Army Spc. Charles F. Gamble Jr., died in 1969 in Vietnam. Both were graduates of Juneau-Douglas High School. The men, who were 20 when they died, are buried in Evergreen Cemetery.

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