KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 11, 2004 — At a time when the world is bustling to defeat terrorism, about 100 members of the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan paused briefly to remember those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom during a Veterans Day ceremony Nov. 11 at Kabul Compound.
The ceremony, which included the playing of the National Anthem, a brief history about Armistice Day, remarks by Lt. Gen. David Barno, commander, Combined Forces Command-Afghanistan, and the singing of God Bless America, lasted about 20 minutes.
But it’s likely the words echoed by Barno will have a lasting impression on those who attended, since they are now considered veterans along with those who are referred to as “the greatest generation.”
“When you think about veterans, you think about the World War II veterans or what has been referred to as the greatest generation,” Barno reflected. “They are the ones who fought at Normandy, Sicily, Salerno, Midway, Okinawa and Iwo Jima, among others.”
Barno said the greatest generation went about their duty in a business-like manner, not seeking any rewards or recognition. Rather, he said, they did it out of posterity and for those who would come after them.
“Much like you are doing today, what they did would benefit their children and their children’s children,” he said. “Being here today makes you a veteran and you’ll always have that to take with you.”
However, Barno said, being a veteran brings with it a certain amount of responsibility.
“Now,” he said, “you are one of those veterans we used to talk about from past wars. What you are doing today is making a down payment on an investment that will pay dividends for generations to come.”