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Arctic Valley star lights up Chugach, Anchorage skyline

Alaska Dispatch
Tom Ojala, electrician journeyman, replaces a bulb on the summit star on Mount Gordon Lyon, Sept. 6, 2012.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
The summit star rests on Mount Gordon Lyon, Sept. 6, 2012. It will be re-lit in November.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Donnie Bull and Tom Ojala of Shaw Environmental and Infrastructure Group, inspect the summit star on Mount Gordon Lyon for damage, Sept. 6, 2012.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Donnie Bull and Tom Ojala make their way down a slope of Mount Gordon Lyon, to repair damage to the summit star.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Donnie Bull and Tom Ojala repair damage to the summit star on Mount Gordon Lyon.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Repairing damage to the summit star on Mount Gordon Lyon, Sept. 6, 2012.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Walking back up a slope on Mount Gordon Lyon, to replace bulbs on the summit star Sept. 6, 2012. The star will be relit the day after Thanksgiving.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Repairing damage to the summit star on Mount Gordon Lyon, Sept. 6, 2012.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo
Donnie Bull, lead electrician, replaces a bulb on the summit star, to be re-lit the day after Thanksgiving.
Staff Sgt. Zachary Wolf, JBER photo

The iconic star on Mount Gordon Lyon at the Arctic Valley ski area between Anchorage and Eagle River in Southcentral Alaska lit up Friday.

The 360 bulbs will stay lit until late March, after the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, at which point the star will be turned off until Sept. 11, when it will be illuminated again in recognition of those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The star is more than a half-century old. It was the brainchild of U.S. Army Capt. Douglas Evert, commander for B Battery, 4th Missile Battalion, 43rd Artillery, who had his men construct a 15-foot star that first shone on May 5, 1959. It rested atop the gatehouse of Site Summit, the location of a Nike Hercules missile battery until 1979. And, according to KTUU, the star-lighting tradition dates back "almost to the beginning of the Cold War."

Donnie Bull, who's been in charge of maintaining the structure since 2003, told KTUU, "I get a lot of comments on the Facebook page from people that moved out of state that miss seeing the star. A lot of people grew up with it, they're used to seeing it."

Read more on the Arctic Valley star.