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Close to 100 vehicles will be making the trip, including vehicles that have been used in World Wars, civil wars and in the military and army.

The Western Command convoy will leave Dawson Creek at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 31, and the Preservation Society convoy, the larger of the two, on August 3 at 6 p.m., both from the Mile 0 Cairn. The celebrations in Fort St. John will take place on August 1, beginning with a ceremony at the Charlie lake monument at 10 a.m. and a banquet at the Legion. During the afternoon the vehicles will be on display at the North Peace Museum.

Samantha Gibeault, Tourism Development Coordinator for Tourism Dawson Creek, says the convoy will really be a celebration of those who helped build what is known today at the Alaska Highway.

“To them, they’re going up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of this engineering feat that was done in eight months in 1942 with American soldiers that didn’t know where they were going, had never experienced winter like up here before, and literally blazed a trail that then became our main street.”

She explains that the highway was influential in preventing the Japanese in World War II from invading the United States through Canada and Alaska. Once the highway opened in September 1942, the army was able to ship supplies to soldiers in Alaska, allowing it to develop more bases. However, its importance has changed over the years, and its history may be unknown to its travellers.

“For us, we use this highway every day, so maybe some people don’t really acknowledge its strength and power; it literally opened up the West,” she explains. “Also, in 2012, we’re celebrating that it’s become a huge trading route… this highway has allowed for international trade.”

As the go up the highway towards the final destination of Fairbanks, Alaska, the vehicles will be stopping in communities along the way, even if it’s just to refuel. For more information on the Western Command Convoy, or its visit to Fort St. John, call 250-787-0430.

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