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Published on Tuesday, October 01, 2019

North to Alaska - Two Different Experiences

MMoskal in AlaskaMy father served in the U.S. Army from 1952 to 1954 during the Korean conflict. While the majority of his platoon was sent overseas, he and a few others in his company were deployed to the Alaskan Territory (Alaska did not become a state until 1959) to guard Elmendorf Air Force Base, outside of Anchorage.

 

The United States, and the then Soviet Union, were in the height of the Cold War. Only 90 miles separated the territory from the Soviets so he was involved in several maneuvers that took his company to some of the most extreme conditions the region had to offer.

 

MMoskal in AlaskaIf we ever asked as kids to go camping, my father would refuse saying that he had done enough camping to last a lifetime. “I have spent my last night looking at the inside of a tent,” he would say. Who could blame him? I would shiver at the sight of the pictures he shared.

 

Quite an experience for my dad. One he never forgot and one he never let us forget.

 

More than 60 years later, there are no shortage of cruise ships that make their way through Alaska’s Inside Passage, docking at some of the southern ports. Shelley said we’re going on an Alaskan cruise, so we met up with the kids in Seattle and off we went.

 

Rock climbing in AlaskaTimes do change. We sailed in the comfort of a cruise ship and not the hold of a military transport. We kayaked, hiked and rock climbed, but not while wearing parkas and carrying packs. We slept in freshly made beds, and not on cots in Quonset huts and heavy canvas tents heated by propane stoves.

 

The scenery was nothing less than spectacular. The 7-day journey took us from the Port of Seattle with stops in Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, British Columbia.

 

Added to the amazement were sightings of bald eagles, sea lions, seals and whales. The passage through Glacier Bay National Park helped us all to experience and visualize first-hand, the speedy decline of the glaciers and the effects of global warming. I’m not a scientist, but I saw it and it’s real.

 

Glacier in AlaskaSo real, that it brought tears to my naturalist daughter’s eyes. She listened intently to the park ranger’s presentation and then witnessed for herself, the enormous scope of the glaciers’ steady decline.

 

Sorry to bum everyone out, but let’s all consider driving less, or not at all, and really think about what we’re consuming and how much. I don’t know if the trend can be reversed, but at least we can try to slow it down. That’s a whole other blog.

 

My dad passed away a number of years ago, but I thought of him quite a bit on our trip. While we didn’t fly into Nome on a frozen runway, we probably did pass through some of the same, vast areas and see some of the same things.

 

Glacier Bay AlaskaLooking at maps that showed the sizes of the glaciers in years past, he no doubt saw much more of them that we did over 60 years later.

 

And, as I mentioned earlier, our accommodations were a bit nicer and the excursions we experienced were a little less physically taxing than his maneuvers.

 

I can hear my dad now... “You actually PAID to climb on rocks and paddle a boat in freezing waters? What are you, nuts?”

 

MMoskalIt was all about the experience, dad. A little bit different than yours though, I’m sure.

 

By the way, thank you for your service.

 

Steve Moskal


SSMoskal










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Steve Moskal
Steve Moskal

Steve Moskal

Other posts by Steve Moskal
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Full biography

Steve’s journey in the trade show and event world started in 1983 with one of the original Nomadic Display sales organizations in North America. In 1994, he co-founded Prairie Display/Chicago.

Steve was an Allied Board Member of TSEA (Trade Show Exhibitors Association) from 2007 to 2011 and recipient of the TSEA President’s Award in 2009. He also served as Financial Chair of the Midwest Exhibit and Event Professionals (formerly the Chicago chapter of TSEA) and as a commissioner with the Elmhurst Economic Development Commission from 2011 to 2016. Currently he is Vice President of Education for the Addison/Elmhurst, IL Toastmasters Club.

When not working with customers and co-workers at Prairie, you can find him trying to spend more time biking and pursuing other creative endeavors. Steve lives in Oak Brook, IL with his beautiful and equally understanding wife of 26 years, Shelley.

Steve is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a B.A. in Journalism and a Fine Arts minor.

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