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As the August 4, Coast Guard Day, approaches, I wanted to take a moment and recognize the service of the members of the Coast Guard who live here in our community.
We must be thankful for the hundreds, even thousands of lives saved each year by this organization. This salvation, however, comes at a price ranging from time spent far away from their families and the ones they love, to even the ultimate sacrifice as recently occurred with the loss of a Coast Guard helicopter attempting to return home to Sitka. This year, there are three sons, fathers and husbands who will not be celebrating Coast Guard Day - they have made that sacrifice that others might live and that we all might be free.
As a member of a maritime community here in Southeast Alaska who lives each day within sight of the sea, we must live with and recognize its awesome power. It provides us with much of what we enjoy and some of the very reasons we chose to live here, but it also takes from us each year our brothers and sisters. However, if I was lost on a dark and stormy night and in trouble's way, I rest assured knowing the members of the Coast Guard serve and are willing to lay down their lives attempting to save mine.
Semper Paratus - Always Ready. I hope and pray that they may be all safe and that they continue to serve that others might live. My personal thank you to the members of the United States Coast Guard, Coast Guard Reserve, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Duane P. Gates