Alaska Winter December 02, 2017
It’s Not Christmas Without This Unique Alaska Holiday Tradition
If you live in Anchorage, you will undoubtedly look for the “Star on the Mountain” as a sign of the winter season. On JBER land, short for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, this large star of lights shines throughout the Anchorage area. A holiday tradition in Alaska, the star spreads it’s light to everyone through the long, dark winter nights.
The JBER star is lit each winter and shines through the night as a symbol of hope. A total of 360 lightbulbs form a five-pointed star that glows on mountainside near Anchorage.
Over 300 feet across currently, the star is maintained by the service men and women of JBER, and lies on military land. On foggy days, it can appear the star is floating above the city.
Each year, the star must be repaired as each spring and summer the weather damages the structure to some extent.
Anchorage is bordered by the gorgeous Chugach Mountain Range. The home of the star is Mount Gordon, standing near the city up Arctic Valley Road.
Each winter, there are many people affected by the long, dark nights. The winter, and especially the holidays, can be a very lonesome time for people.
Many Alaskans are displaced from their families and support network when they come to the big city from rural Alaska. Many transplants are far from their families and loved ones as travel isn't always possible. The star shines for everyone who needs a little light in their life.
The light also shines for the many men and women serving overseas whose loved ones wait for their safe return to Alaska.
The star began as a small star on a military building roof in 1958. Since then it has been moved and expanded to 300 feet across. This photo shows the star in 1972.
The star shines on the night of September 11, and then throughout the winter from the day after Thanksgiving. The vigil is over when the last musher finishes the Iditarod sled dog race in March.
Here is a video from JBER (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson):
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