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Sen. Ted Stevens is well remembered to this day and will be for years to come on the last Saturday of July.
That is Ted Stevens Day, a day on which Alaskans are encouraged to focus on family and fun — particularly the fun of outdoor activities.
Sen. Stevens, Alaska's much loved U.S. senator for several decades, loved to do just that. In fact, he was on a fly-in fishing trip when the small aircraft he was aboard crashed three years ago, killing him.
But, Stevens would want us to think about the fun times and get out and make more of them. Whether it's camping, hiking, boating or fishing, he believed in enjoying the great outdoors of Alaska.
There is a time for play, just as there is for work. Sen. Stevens worked endless hours for Alaska, spending too many hours away from his home state. Alaskans always loved to see him when he would leave Washington, D.C., and his serious responsibilities there to come for a visit. It was a highlight for him and those here.
On his visits, he always shared about his family. He spoke with pride as many fathers and grandfathers do, including details about what his family had been doing. Then he tackled the work-related inquiries expected for a long-time Alaska senator with awesome responsibility as the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee more than once.
He seemed most relaxed when recalling family adventures and, of course, fishing trips.
It is only natural that the day that honors Stevens would be in the summer when Alaska's weather permits the most opportunities for outdoor and family-related activities.
Dignitaries are remembered for a variety of reasons, many of them quite serious. But Alaskans remember Stevens as one who liked to laugh and play, and will be reminded of that for generations to come.
Let's honor and show respect for Alaska's most admired senator Saturday by making a fun day of it.