The Sitka Assembly began its meeting Monday night (11-10-14) by issuing a proclamation honoring Veterans Day.
Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell asked any veterans in the room to come forward while she read the proclamation:
Whereas, America is the land of freedom, preserved and protected willingly and freely by citizen soldiers; and
Whereas, millions who have answered the call to arms have died on the field of battle, and
Whereas, a nation at peace must be reminded of the price of war, and the debt owed to those who have served and died in war, and
Whereas, the sacrifices and contributions of those who serve in the U.S,. military are deserving of commemoration, honor and recognition.
Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the Assembly of the City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska, does hereby call upon the citizens of Sitka to observe the 11th day of November, 2014, as Veterans Day.
The handful of veterans who had come to receive the proclamation were joined by two assembly members, Ben Miyasato and Steven Eisenbeisz, both of whom served in Iraq; and by several members of city staff, including finance director Jay Sweeney and electric utility director Chris Brewton.
Sitka resident George Bennett told the assembly that public recognition of veterans is vitally important.
“But sometimes veterans have a hard time seeing ourselves in that role, where people pat us on the back,” Bennett said. “Because when we went into service in the first place this is not what we were looking for, we were only looking to do our duty as we saw it the best way we could do it. And many of us today, we are still part of that duty. We have never been dismissed.”
“And that is how we feel today,” Bennett continued. “And so this is a great moment for a lot of veterans who can take pride and finally welcome themselves home.”