FAIRBANKS — Memories of lost lives were mixed with Christmas cheer over the holiday as a special flag flew above Fairbanks.
The Patriot Flag twisted in the light breeze Saturday afternoon at the VFW Post next to the Steese Highway.
“I came to pay my respects and to teach my daughters about country pride,” said Donovan Glade, who works at the Fort Wainwright Fire Department and who brought his daughters to the VFW to see the flag.
“I saw it from the road, and I was surprised it’s so big,” said his 10-year-old daughter, Susan, who snapped photos with her brand new iTouch.
The giant commemorative flag stopped in Fairbanks and North Pole over Christmas on its year-long journey across the nation to commemorate families who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The flag will visit all 50 states before arriving in September at the sites of the three attacks for the 10th anniversary.
“What happened with the attack on the World Trade Center and the loss of life of our brothers and sisters in emergency services definitely hit home up here,” said Ernie Misewicz, assistant fire chief with the Fairbanks Fire Department, which raised the flag at the VFW post.
“What we’re trying to do is basically remind people never to forget about the victims of 9/11, and to show that we haven’t forgotten,” he said.
The flag arrived in Alaska early in the week and circulated through Anchorage, Kotzebue, Ketchikan and Juneau before arriving in Fairbanks on Christmas Eve, courtesy of Alaska Airlines.
About 40 residents visited the Butrovich parking lot Friday night as the University of Alaska Fairbanks Fire Department displayed the flag. The flag was raised Saturday morning at the North Pole Fire Station and the Santa Claus House and in the afternoon over the VFW building and the downtown fire station.
“It’s really an honor, not just for us as VFW but for us as a community,” said Walter W. Watts, Jr., senior vice commaner of the VFW post. “We’re all in this together.”
The flag headed back to the airport Christmas night en route for Oregon and a cross-country trip via FedEx.
Contact staff writer Molly Rettig at 459-7590.