CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq (June 1, 2010) Aca,!" Task Force Marne Soldiers and civilians observed Memorial Day with a wreath-laying and 21-gun salute for 18 fallen TF Marne warriors who died in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cre here today to celebrate the sacrifices made by American Soldiers throughout our nationAca,!a,,cs history, but in particular during our deployment here in Iraq,Aca,!A? said Brig. Gen. Patrick J. Donahue II, TF Marne deputy commanding general for maneuver. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs important to remember sacrifices made by these men and women, who have given everything for their country. If we donAca,!a,,ct celebrate them, we forget, and weAca,!a,,cll take for granted the sacrifices they made.Aca,!A?

Donahue said for him, Memorial Day means having the chance to remember the men and women he has served with.

Aca,!A"I remember how important it is; the job I do every day is to make sure I get everything I can to make our Soldiers successful Aca,!" they can successfully do their jobs without having to give their lives,Aca,!A? he said.

For Sgt. 1st Class Sonya Helring the observance was a moment for her to remember the sacrifices made by servicemembers before her.

Aca,!A"ThatAca,!a,,cs why weAca,!a,,cre here,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"They laid the foundation for us so we can continue a good fight in remembrance of them. ItAca,!a,,cs a day for us to sit back and reflect on their ultimate sacrifice, remember why weAca,!a,,cre here doing what we do and to continue the tradition of providing freedom.Aca,!A?

In 1868, when Memorial Day was first observed, it was about reconciliation. Today, itAca,!a,,cs about coming together to honor servicemembers who gave their all defending the United States and its freedom.

Headquarters Grand Army of the Republic national commander Gen. John LoganAca,!a,,cs General Orders No. 11, Washington, D.C., May 5, 1868, defined the reason for the creation of Memorial Day:

Aca,!A"The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet church yard. In this observance, no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. ... Let us raise above them the dear old flag they saved from dishonor; let us in this solemn presence renew our pledges to aid and assist those whom they have left among us a sacred charge upon a nationAca,!a,,cs gratitude, the SoldierAca,!a,,cs and SailorAca,!a,,cs widow and orphan.

(Spc. Jessica Zullig serves with the 135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16