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Anchorage, military community pay respects to late senator
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- A joint-military honor guard transports former Senator Ted Stevens out of the auditorium after his funeral service Aug. 18. People from the Anchorage and military community along with many political dignitaries attended the late senator's service. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross/JBER PAO)
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Anchorage, military community pay respects to late senator

Posted 8/19/2010   Updated 8/20/2010 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Christopher Gross

8/19/2010 - ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Anchorage and military communities, along with many political dignitaries, came to pay their respects to former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens at a funeral service Aug. 18, at the Anchorage Baptist Temple.

Hundreds of people poured into the auditorium to say their goodbyes.

Sen. Stevens was killed in a plane crash Aug. 9 north of Dillingham, Alaska.

The former senator represented the state of Alaska in the U.S. Senate from 1968 to 2008 and was the longest serving Republican member of the Senate.

Many past and present senators, who knew the late senator, came to pay their respects, to include U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

"Every man and woman who comes in the U.S. Senate brings with them a piece of their state," said Vice President Joe Biden. "Ted Stevens, unlike any other man or woman who I've served with, was his state."

The vice president said he had the honor of serving with the former senator for the past 36 years and that "no other state has ever had a more fierce leader."

Many others such as Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senate Minority Leader; Hawaii Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, U.S. Senate President Pro Tempore; and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, came to the podium to share their personal experiences with the late senator during the service.

They talked about the strong leadership he had within him and the pride he took in his job and his family.

"As a young man, Ted fought to get that 49th star on the flag, and he spent the rest of his remarkable life working tirelessly and unapologetically to transform Alaska into a modern state," Sen. McConnell said. "He came to Washington with a mission, and he was faithful to that mission to the end, and every Alaskan here and across the state should know that Ted Stevens devoted every day of his life not to the promotion of himself but of you."

Sen. Inouye said to those in attendance, "This is a time of mourning, but it's also a time of reflection and celebration."

Those who spoke also said how the former World War II pilot was in much support of today's military.

Sen. Inouye quoted the late senator during his speech, in which he said Ted once said, "As we see the heroism and bravery of those who serve in our armed service today, we know they are truly our greatest generation. It takes an extraordinary person to do the job asked of the men and women in the military today."

Former Sen. Stevens was in support of the military and taking action with the War on Terrorism by voting for the authorization for use of military force against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

He was also for the Supplemental Appropriations Act to support Department of Defense Operations in Iraq for fiscal year 2003 and 2004. This included an appropriation of $603 million for "force protection gear and combat clothing," in 2003 and $300 million in appropriations for the purchase of body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2004.

Sen. Inouye closed out his speech by saying, "Farwell friend, we will never forget you."

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