I think a lot of people deal with this event differently. This year will be my fifth anniversary of my alive day and only in the past year have I felt comfortable talking about it.
I had a similar event to the person listed above, meaning I had survivor's guilt. Everyone grieves differently. I'd say the best thing to do is make it into something different. Don't call it an alive day, try asking your friend to consider it a day of honor for his fallen comrades.