Memorial Day came and went a month ago. It was celebrated with picnics, barbeques, and furniture store sales. But for some, Memorial Day is all about honoring and remembering the servicemen and women who have given their all for the freedoms we all so very cherish.
I am a Gold Star Widow. My husband was a SSGT who was stationed on JBER at the time of his death eight years ago. I miss him every day. I carry him with me through my mundane daily tasks and my grandest adventures. When I see something grandiose, and awe-inspiring, my inner voice quietly whispers “Did you see that, T?” Recently, someone else has been doing things to keep the memories alive. Every Gold Star family member has their own ways to remember loved ones. Some quietly, some publicly, and some go far beyond. In the case of Kirk Alkire, it was going big. Kirk’s passion, dedication, drive, and persistence have officially paid off in one of the biggest ways possible. A previously unnamed peak in the Chugach Mountains beside Mount POW/MIA is now Gold Star Peak. What an accomplishment.
In early February 2018, Eagle River’s Kirk Alkire travelled to Washington D.C. to seek approval by the Domestic Names Committee (DNC) of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on the naming of “Gold Star Peak” in the Chugach Mountains. His hard work paid off on February 8th when his proposal received a unanimous vote. Gold Star Peak is no longer just Alkire’s passion. It’s a place.
In early December, a peak in the Chugach Range between Eagle River and Palmer overlooking the Knik River moved one step closer to receiving the name, Gold Star Peak with official approval by the Board of Alaska Geographic Names, Alaska Historical Commission; part of the Department of Natural Resources. The peak will be named to honor and salute families of soldiers who have died during military service.