USARAF commander, Tunisian ambassador host Veterans Day ceremony in Tunisia
November 11, 2011
All who shall hereafter live in freedom will be here reminded that to these men and their comrades we owe a debt to be paid with grateful remembrance of their sacrifice and with the high resolve that the cause for which they died shall live eternally. --Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia Gordon Gray and Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, commander, U.S. Army Africa, presided over the Veterans Day ceremony at the North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Carthage Nov. 11. Several senior Tunisian government and military officials attended the event, including Air Force Chief of Staff General Taieb Laajami and Ambassador Faysal Gouia, Director General for the Americas and Asia at the Foreign Ministry.
The Veterans Day ceremony is held annually at the American Battlefield Memorial Cemetery in Tunisia to honor U.S. veterans and to commemorate the thousands of U.S. service members who fought and died in North Africa during World War II.
Hogg spoke to the crowd of more than 200 U.S. and African service members, Family members, and Civilians about how proud he is to be part of the Army every day, especially on days like Veteran's Day.
"I am proud to have the opportunity to serve alongside great men and women of this generation and am humbled to stand in the resting place of the brave men and women of generations past," Hogg said. "As we remember the fallen, let us also think about the 1.1 million men and women we have in uniform today -- these men and women live by a professional ethos that asserts 'we will never accept defeat,'" he said.
During his remarks, Ambassador Gray emphasized how sobering it is to recall the 2,841 men and women buried along with the 3,724 missing inscribed on the walls, fell nearly 70 years ago.
"It is a humbling experience to walk amongst the headstones and read the names, places, and the birthdates of the fallen, many of them younger than my own children, and to wonder what great citizens they would have been had their lives not been cut short answering the call to a higher cause," Gray said.
"The truest and best comfort we can offer those that have made the ultimate sacrifice is the commitment that we as a nation will ensure that their lives will not have been lost in vain, and their courage, honor, and dignity will continue to be recognized in ceremonies such as this one forever more -- it is that commitment, I would offer, that is our strongest legacy and is one we must and will continue," he said.