FORT BRAGG, N.C. (May 23, 2014) -- Family members and fellow Soldiers from throughout the U.S. Army Special Operations community gathered here yesterday, to pay tribute and respect to fallen Special Operations Soldiers in a memorial ceremony.

The USASOC Fallen Soldiers Memorial Ceremony was conducted on the memorial plaza, under the always watchful eye of Bronze Bruce. The ceremony was in honor of the Soldiers who were killed while supporting combat operations during the past year.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lt. Gen. Charles T. Cleveland, USASOC commanding general, addressed the families and spoke of the memories one has of their loved ones as sons and daughters, husbands and uncles, and the pride they felt of their choice to be a Soldier.

"We knew them however, as lions, as warriors, as brothers and one sister in arms," he said. "They were brave, they were tough, they were strong, they were noble, and they were honorable. They were teammates and they fought without hesitation, for each other. They are our heroes, and it is fitting and proper that we never forget them."

The names of 18 Soldiers who have paid the ultimate price for our country's freedom, and for those oppressed, were added to the wall during the ceremony.

"On this noble wall, we add the names of 18 great Americans who represent the strength of our country; the countries recognition that to adequately defend ourselves in today's dangerous world, we must be willing to put at risk the best of our young by asking them take up arms," added Cleveland.

Cleveland explained that from all across the United States came these great Soldiers, active duty and citizen-Soldiers alike. He went on to explain, through 13 years of war, it easy to forget that every day across Afghanistan, American Soldiers relentlessly seek out a tenacious enemy.

"These Soldiers are remarkable examples of who we are as a nation, as an army," said Cleveland. "Together they represent the strength of our way of life and they are heroes in which we believe in the underlying and enduring commitment that all Americans share to our country's defense."

"In our losses, we see ourselves and our children. It doesn't matter what brought you to the fight, simply if you and your loved one fought underneath a set of Army Special Operations colors, you are family," stated Cleveland.

"And today we mourn with you and our hearts ache for you."

As the ceremony came to an end, the families and friends of the fallen moved to the memorial wall to place a rose at the foot of the wall and to touch the names of their fallen Soldiers.

"These are all warriors, Soldiers of whom much was asked and from whom all was taken because they chose this calling," said Cleveland. "They will never be forgotten and forever those who follow will see their names here, and know they gave all for all Americans. They stepped forward and demonstrated to the world that our liberty will never be conceded. May their memories live on forever and our country forever be inspired by their sacrifice."