Saturday, 22 June 2013

Today was a really tough day with the Memorial Services for the four killed at Bagram on Tuesday night. There were two services in the Enduring Faith Memorial Chapel, one at 2pm and another at 5pm, each for the respective unit that lost soldiers. Although I would have liked to have shown my support at both, I chose to attend the second one because both services were in the middle of my "night".  I would have risked getting over tired and sick doing both since we work nine hour shifts, 7 days a week so there's no opportunity to recover. However, our collective team did attend both ceremonies so at least we always had a presence.

To be honest, I cannot tell you which part of the ceremony was the hardest...the slide show of photos and videos of the fallen, all of whom were in their 20s...the Specialist paying tribute to his fallen friend who could barely finish his speech... the acoustic version of "Desperado" which was sung live and by far the most beautiful rendition of the song I have ever heard...or most likely it was the roll call at the end of the service, when the First Sergeant for their unit began calling out the names of soldiers under his command, to which each responded "Here First Sergeant!" The painfully long pauses that came after the names of the dead, as the First Sergeant continued to repeat their names until he called their full name and no one responded, was only filled by the cries of the unit members. Then followed a 21 gun salute and the forlorn notes of 'Taps" being played by a lone bugler.

The whole Memorial was recorded for the families back home and I hope they can find some very small comfort in the fact that their loved ones were clearly valued and appreciated and loved by their fellow soldiers.

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