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.

“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.”