As the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake and Tsunami nears, the Kodiak Lions Club is hoping to install a commemorative plaque on the spit.
During those tragic events more than half a century ago the village of Afognak was decimated and many people lost their lives. The surviving villagers were relocated to what is now known as Port Lions, with the help of the United States government and the village’s namesake, the Lions Club.
Doc Myers is a past president and current member of Kodiak Lions Club and said records show that 22 people from around the archipelago died during the earthquake and tsunami. During Tuesday’s City Council work session, Myers presented the club’s hopes to honor those individuals.
“And in that period of time we had a lot of drownings and they weren’t really verified there’s some rule about 50 years has to go by and we finally have a list of all the names of people that were in the Kodiak Archipelago. And a lot of the last names you’ll recognize. We have in years past made monuments before. Which if you’ve ever been to Abercrombie you’ve seen our veteran one, which is basically molded bronze – something that time won’t erode. And we’ve been working on this for a couple of months until it was legal to get the names and they were certified.”
Myers said the club has obtained a 3,000-pound rock from the granite quarry on Afognak Island, and hopes to mount a plaque on it that memorializes the events of March 27, 1964, and lists the names of those who were killed. He said the club had to do a lot of digging to make sure they weren’t leaving any names out. All total, he said around 118 people died across the state of Alaska.
The club also hopes to hold a commemoration ceremony to go with the placement of the plaque. Myers said last year’s international president of the world will be in Kodiak celebrating the Lions Club’s 50th anniversary around that time, and the hope is to hold a small ceremony on April 5 to dedicate the plaque and read the names it includes.
The city council was very receptive to the plaque and commemoration idea, and City Manager Aimee Kniaziowski said she didn’t think there was a formal process needed for the memorial. She asked that the Lions Club check with the city’s planning and zoning department and harbor office to make sure they find an appropriate location on the spit.
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