News: Service members in Afghanistan pay tribute on Veterans Day
Story by Sgt. Ashley Curtis
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - While many in the United States spend time with loved ones, barbeque with friends or take time off to commemorate Veterans Day, coalition forces remain hard at work in Afghanistan supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Service members and civilians from Regional Command (South) observed the day with a ceremony at the command’s headquarters on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2012.
Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, Regional Command (South) and Third Infantry Division commanding general, spoke about the origin of the commemoration and what it means to service members and their families today.
“It is now a day when nations around the world pause in a moment of silence, with solemn pride, in remembrance of the heroism of those who’ve served, those who currently serve and those who’ve died in their country’s service,” Abrams said.
Operations in Regional Command (South) are supported by service members from several countries, including England, France, Australia and Canada. Those countries also mark Veterans Day on or about Nov. 11.
“You represent the very best of your countries,” Abrams told the international crowd gathered for the ceremony.
The United States currently has more than 14,000 service members serving in the region, while Romania and Australia rank No. 2 and No. 3 respectively in troop numbers. Forty percent of the region’s service members are first-time deployers.
Abrams acknowledged the sacrifice, hard work and invaluable support of families back home.
“A life of service is anything but peaceful,” he said. “Our days are filled with a sergeant’s voice, rifles, trucks and helicopters. But our heads are filled with the sounds of our children laughing, our spouses and our friends and family laughing.”
“To our [service members] and our families, you are a national treasure and your resiliency never ceases to amaze me.”