News: Soldiers, civilians celebrate Easter with sunrise service
Story by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade
LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Before the sun began to rise over the Afghan mountains, music and prayer filled the air as service members and civilians gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, March 31.
The early morning service began with the invocation by U.S. Army chaplain Maj. Steve Prost, brigade chaplain, assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and native of Platte City, Mo., said there couldn’t have been more perfect weather.
The service featured a pastoral prayer, scripture reading, and a musical performance by U.S. Army Sgt. Amelia Shields, unit supply specialist assigned to Company C, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.
The native of Stone Mountain, Ga., said she was grateful to be asked to participate in the morning service. “I am honoured to be here amongst my fellow soldiers this glorious morning,”
Shields said she liked to see soldiers and their leaders worshiping together.
“Soldiers and leaders celebrating our risen king is awesome,” said Shields.
Prost said he was watching the audience during Shields’ rendition of “Because He Lives.” He said he saw a couple of people with tears running down their cheek.
“I think people can relate that song to their deployment,” said Prost.
Another soldier who attended the service, Pfc. Paul Clay, a multichannel transmission systems operator-maintainer, assigned to Brigade Special Troops Battalion, also with 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div., said the timing was perfect for the service to happen right as the sun rose above the mounaintops.
“The ceremony was gorgeous,” said Clay. I wouldn’t have any other chaplain put this service together.”
This is Clay’s first deployment to Afghanistan. The Gulfport, Miss., native said he attends weekly religious services and said he was pleased by the chaplain’s performance during the early morning service.
“He puts his heart and soul into every service he’s done here, and it’s made this deployment so much easier,” said Clay.
Prost said he cannot take all the credit for the morning service and thanked people who helped with the early morning service.
“The service could not have happened if it wasn’t for the hard work of my chaplain assistant and the help of volunteers, who helped with the music and the set up.”
The Easter service concluded with a benediction by Prost. A special Easter breakfast was offered following the sunrise service with festive Easter decorations displayed at the Gamberi dining facility.