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ISAF service members observe Memorial Day

Email   Print   Share By Master Sgt. Jacob Caldwell, III Corps Public Affairs
May 30, 2013 | News
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Lt. Gen. Mark Milley and Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder render honors after the laying of the traditional wreath during the Memorial Day ceremony conducted Monday at Kabul, Afghanistan International Airport. Milley and Schroeder are respectively the IJC and III Corps commander and command sergeant major. (Photo by Master Sgt. Jacob Caldwell, III Corps Public Affairs)
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Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, IJC and III Corps commander, served as the keynote speaker during the Memorial Day ceremony conducted Monday by IJC service members at Kabul International Airport. In his remarks, Milley brought the day back to its origins, referencing the Civil War.
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IJC service members from multiple nations observe a moment of prayer during the U.S. Memorial Day ceremony conducted Monday at the Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan
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The traditional wreath was laid during the Memorial Day ceremony conducted Monday at Kabul, Afghanistan International Airport.
KABUL, Afghanistan - Service members from multiple nations gathered to honor those who have fallen in wars past during the Memorial Day ceremony conducted Monday at the International Airport here.

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines from the U.S., Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Mongolia and many other coalition countries that make up the International Security Assistance Forces – Joint Command all observed the ceremony.

Lt. Gen. Mark Milley, IJC and III Corps commanding general, spoke at the ceremony about the origins of Memorial Day after the Civil War and the reason for the selection of the date so as to assure the ample supply of flowers to be laid upon graves in Arlington National Cemetery.

He also spoke about African Americans being freed from slavery, so that the meaning of freedom would become real in the US.

“It still took a hundred years until the Civil Rights Act in 1965, before the dream, before the vision of the Civil War was ever fully realized,” Milley said. “And that struggle continues today.”

Milley continued by asking if the loss of life while fighting for freedom was worthwhile.

“Look around this room, and ask an African American if freedom is worth fighting for,” he said. “Ask a citizen of this country who lived under the rule of the Taliban if freedom is worth fighting for. Ask the people who have suffered any form of tyranny or oppression if freedom is worth fighting for, and you’ll have your answer.”

While Memorial Day was born after the American Civil War, it is particularly poignant to service members serving today who are all too familiar with the high price of freedom.

“You all are separated from your Families,” Milley said. “Many of you have done multiple tours. Some of you have been wounded in action. And almost all you know, personally, a fallen comrade. You, more than most people on this earth, know the sacrifice and the price of freedom. “

Since 2001, 3,116 NATO Soldiers … have lost their lives,” Milley said, “and thousands of Afghan soldiers and policemen have given the last, full measure of devotion in order to oppose tyranny, oppose oppression and further the cause of liberty and freedom. And we honor the fallen.”

After a spoken-word recital, a vocal rendition of “America, The Beautiful” and Milley’s remarks, a traditional wreath was laid in observance of those who fell in defense of the nation.
 
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