CHARIKAR, Afghanistan (Feb. 27, 2017) - United States military services hold on to their traditions and pass them to new service members to teach history and help install pride in their organization. Today, Afghanistan began a new tradition by holding its first Afghan National Defense Security Forces Day. A ceremony was held at the National Security Justice Center, near Bagram, and another at the Police Recruits Training Center in Charikar.

"It is the very first time this holiday has occurred and it was momentous to be a part of. It is very humbling to see the pride that they took in their flag and their purpose, and it was inspiring to hear some of the words of the 14 guest speakers that spoke today," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Stephen Phillips, commander of the 1st Battalion, 36th Infantry Regiment, Task Force (TF) Spartan, U.S. Forces- Afghanistan, deployed here from Fort Bliss, Texas.

Phillips said the common theme amongst all 14 speakers was that Afghans once secured this country themselves, it was safe, they are proud of the security they had and it is a great country, but Afghans have to take responsibility to secure their borders and to secure the people.

The Afghan National Army and Afghan police force along with the provincial governor's staff took the lead to host the ceremony. TF Spartan participated in the event by presenting 11 certificates of appreciation and some unit coins to some deserving police and Afghan Army Soldiers.

"We have been here for less than a month we have already developed some meaningful relationships and I would like to continue to see them blossom," said Phillips.

"They (Afghans) absolutely recognize that they are responsible now for the security of this nation, and they know that the role of the coalition is just to provide that little bit of backing that they need in a couple of critical areas," he continued. "The Afghans are asking for less and owning more, which is encouraging."

The Afghan National Detention Facility and Prison-Parwan also hosted their own ANDSF Day at the same time for their respective services near Bagram Airfield.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. John C. Thomson III, Bagram Airfield commander, deployed here from Fort Hood, Texas, attended the celebration. He spoke about the significance of the event.

"Serving in the military is tough and dangerous work. It is a noble calling and it is vital to Afghanistan and vital for the people of Afghanistan," said Thomson

"Only a few are willing and able to serve in the military, but you have stepped forward," he continued, "Thank you for who you are, for what you do and for what you stand for. We stand with you 'shona ba shona' (shoulder to shoulder), with you against enemies who wish to do us and our families harm," explained Thomson.