Memorial Day is a day for honoring those that gave their lives in service to our country, a day for quiet reflection and thanking those who answered our nation's call in time of war.
One of the traditional ways of honoring those who served our country is the annual Memorial Day service, which has been held at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day in Evergreen Cemetery since at least 1919.
Unfortunately, the quiet celebration of the past three Memorial Day services has been interrupted by the noisy flyby of squads of tourist-bearing helicopters, noisily pursuing profits on the Juneau Icefield. The noise has been so loud and so constant that even those attendees with good hearing could not hear the Memorial Day speaker, even though he was using a PA system.
I have asked local helicopter operators several times over the past three years, both privately and publicly, to please refrain from flying over Evergreen Cemetery during the one hour - 11 a.m. to noon - that is set aside for this service, to no avail.
I am writing this letter to publicly ask once again that helicopter operators either take an alternate route that avoids downtown and Evergreen Cemetery - and Alaska Memorial Park in the valley where a service is also planned - during this one hour, or that they put patriotism over profits and stop flying for an hour to honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
I hope that this year they will honor this request.
Dennis P. Harris