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Soldiers in Afghanistan Commemorate Memorial Day

By Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, May 29, 2007 – Combined Joint Task Force 82 honored the contributions and sacrifices men and women of the armed forces have made in defense of freedom and democracy during a Memorial Day ceremony here yesterday.

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Servicemembers assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 82 look on at the Memorial Day ceremony held May 28 at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan. The U.S. flag was flown at half-staff in remembrance of servicemembers who have fallen in defense of freedom. Photo by Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA
  

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“On Memorial Day, we remember our brothers and sisters who have paid the ultimate price, not only to keep America and the world free, but to allow people from all nations to live in peace and freedom,” said Army Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82. “We remember those moments as we stood in the dust of Bagram and Kandahar Airfield saluting fallen comrades one last time as they began their final journey home.”

Rodriguez remembered soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice during Operation Enduring Freedom so civilians in Afghanistan may enjoy a future of liberty.

“We remember our comrades not just for the fact that they no longer walk among us, but for their actions -- the actions of men who stood up and said, ‘I will defend my country; I will sacrifice for others,’ and who selflessly served all of us,” Rodriguez continued.

The sounds of bagpipes and “Amazing Graze” sung by a choir could be heard throughout the ceremony. There was also a 21-gun salute, which followed a “missing man” formation of Black Hawk helicopters that flew overhead.

“Honor them through your actions, and protect the legacy they have left us,” Rodriguez concluded. “Let us remember those heroes whose time was short but whose impact will be felt for generations to come.”

(Army Sgt. Timothy Dinneen is assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 82 Public Affairs.)

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U.S. Forces in Afghanistan

Click photo for screen-resolution imageThe color guard displays unit colors during the Memorial Day ceremony held at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 28. Memorial Day was dedicated May 5, 1868 and was observed the first time May 30, 1868. Photo by Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 82, speaks at the Memorial Day ceremony held May 28. He asked servicemembers not just to remember those who gave their lives for their country, but also their actions defending it. Photo by Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageBlack Hawk helicopters fly overhead at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, as part of a “missing man” formation in observance of those who have given their lives in defense of the U.S. and the ideals of freedom, liberty and democracy. Photo by Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Turner, Task Force Cincinnatus sergeant major, salutes during the Memorial Day ceremony held at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, May 28. Airmen, sailors, Marines and soldiers attended the ceremony to pay tribute to all those who have given their lives in support and defense of the U.S. Photo by Sgt. Timothy Dinneen, USA  
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