Quirky Attraction: Alaska Veterans Memorial

alaska-veterans-memorial

Alaska Veterans Memorial

Location: Denali State Park, Alaska (Route 3, Mile 147.1)
When to visit: Any time
Cost: Free
Time needed to enjoy: 10-15 minutes
Website: dnr.alaska.gov/parks/aspunits/matsu/akveteransmemorial.htm

Let’s kick off this Memorial Day weekend with a look at the Alaska Veterans Memorial, an unexpected find on the highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. The memorial is located at a rest stop on Route 3 at Mile marker 147.1. It’s inside Denali State Park, south of the more well-known Denali National Park.

Created in 1984, the Alaska Veterans Memorial is a remembrance of the men and women who have served the country over the years. “We honor their heroism and dedication,” the inscription reads in part.

The main section of the memorial is a semicircle of individual stones for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Each stone is a concrete panel 20 feet high.

veterans-memorial-stones

Some visitors leave flowers near the stone of their choice to honor their own family members.

memorial-flowers

The entrance to the memorial features a sculpture of two Alaskan guards looking out through binoculars. There’s a plaque with the inscription, “We dedicate this quiet place to the remembrance of the veterans of Alaska who have served their country at home and throughout the world. We honor their heroism and dedication.”

alaska-memorial-statue

In addition to honoring the Armed Forces, the site has another memorial for victims of two military plane crashes in Alaska. A propeller from a C-47 that crashed in 1954 sits on display.

airplane-propeller

The memorial does have bathrooms and picnic sites, so you can stop off to refresh yourself or grab lunch on the road if you’d like. The memorial is accessibly anytime, but its visitor center is typically open during the summer months only.

You can sometimes see the great peak, Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley) from this memorial, though during my visit the weather wasn’t clear enough for such a view. This memorial now has a Facebook page as well, but it’s not updated often.

It’s a nice tribute, and it’s not in a place you’d expect, so if you make the trip to Alaska and head up towards Denali National Park, be sure to stop by the Alaska Veterans Memorial.

air-force-stone

If you’re traveling in Alaska, remember to pick up the Milepost, a massive resource known as the “Bible of Alaska travel” that includes maps and visitor information for every mile of every highway! See the link below.

Looking for more Quirky Attractions? Check out the Arnold Schwarzenegger statue or the American Banjo Museum.

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